Harley Paton was 16 days too early to qualify his parents for the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
Harley Paton was 16 days too early to qualify his parents for the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

New parental leave scheme debuts

FROM January 1 expectant working mothers have become eligible for the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

Up until now new mothers were entitled to the Baby Bonus worth $5294. Now they are eligible for the Parental Leave allowance, almost double the Baby Bonus.

Mother-of-three Megan Paton missed being eligible for the Paid Parental Leave bonus by just 16 days, having had her third child Harley on December 15.

“I was originally due on Christmas Eve, but chose to get induced and have Harley early,” she said.

“If I didn’t get induced and went to full term I wouldn’t have waited until January 1 anyway. It was just my choice.”

Ms Paton is unconcerned about missing out on the new scheme. In fact, she is quite satisfied to

receive the Baby Bonus.

“With all the bills and costs involved with a baby I am happy to get the bonus – there is nothing wrong with it,” she said.

There is some speculation that many mothers who planned to have their babies in the hours before January 1 delayed delivery to be eligible for the new scheme.

However, Families Minister Jenny Macklin said she was unaware of any mothers who deliberately delayed giving birth.

To be eligible for the payment you must be the primary carer of a newborn child or recently adopted child; an Australian resident; must have met the scheme’s work test before birth or adoption occurs; and have received a taxable income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year.

Those wishing to apply for the scheme’s benefits will need to have worked at least 330 hours over a 10-month period.

Those not eligible will still be able to receive the Baby Bonus.

More than 7500 families have already applied to the parental leave valued at $10,260 over 18 weeks for 2011.

For more information on the scheme please head to www.familyassist.gov.au.

Paid Parental Leave

Government funded – for eligible working parents of children born or adopted on or after January 1, 2011.

Can be transferred to the other parent.

Paid at the National Minimum Wage – currently $570 a week before tax*.

For up to 18 weeks

Can be taken any time within the first year after birth.



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