With almost 300,000 babies born in Australia in 2014 alone1, Australia has positively revised it’s parental leave entitlements over recent decades. The term “paternity leave” now falls under the broader category of parental leave and the legislation recognises that a growing number of men are adopting primary carer responsibilities and it’s becoming increasingly common for dad’s to stay at home to care for one or more children. Let’s take a closer look at paternity leave in NSW (New South Wales).
Paternity Leave in NSW
As far as leave entitlements go, in New South Wales the primary carer of the child is entitled to parental leave regardless of whether that carer is male or female. Both mother and father however, cannot claim entitlement to parental leave at the same time. They can share the responsibility but cannot double dip. In order to be eligible for parental leave, the father must have worked for his employer for twelve months or more before the actual or expected birth of the child and must have responsibility for the care of the child2.
Paternity Leave Pay in NSW
Since 1 January 2013, the Australian Government have also implemented “Dad and Partner Pay”. Eligible father’s in New South Wales and the rest of the country are entitled to two weeks pay at national minimum wage, which is currently at A$657 per week before tax. Eligibility is dependent upon a work and income test and the father must be on unpaid leave or not working at the time of receiving the payment. To meet the work test, the requirement is that you must have worked at least “10 of the 13 months before the date your Dad and Partner Pay period starts” as well as “330 hours in that 10 month period” (read further information about this initiative here). The goal of this initiative is to help father’s “take time off work to support new mothers in their caring role and to be involved in the care of their new baby right from the start”3. The “Dad and Partner Pay” initiative can be taken by fathers whilst the mother is simultaneously on parental leave.
As far as other entitlements go, employers sometimes allow expecting fathers to use up their annual leave entitlements and submit a flexible start date for the leave4. This is another way of supporting father’s to take time off at the time of birth or shortly thereafter, once their newborn comes home from hospital. As parents know, this can be one of the most stressful times in a new parents life and having financial support during this time is essential to enabling fathers to be able to take time off to support their partner during this time.
Paternity leave in NSW follows similar provisions to the broader Australian entitlements. If you’re an expecting father in New South Wales, please click here for additional information on paternity leave in NSW.