Just like one big game of broken telephone, the information that gets passed around about Paid Parental Leave (PPL) changes depending on who you speak to. Since there is so much to know it is understandable. I’ve made a list of some of the more common things that I have heard or read, especially in Facebook groups, about your right to receive PPL and will try to set the record straight.
- You have to have worked for one employer during your entire pregnancy.
You need to meet the Work Test to receive PPL. The test does not measure how many jobs you have had, but how many hours of work you have performed. You need to have worked for 330 hours in a 10 month period over the 13 months before your due date. You can achieve this in one job or many jobs. This includes contract work and also working two or more jobs at once. Keep a record of the number of hours of work you perform during this time to ensure you meet the Work Test.
- You have to be working for a year before you go on parental leave.
I believe that this false comment comes up because of a different rule, from a different law, that has nothing to do with PPL. That is, if you have worked for 12 months continuously for an employer, they are required to give you 52 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This is completely different to the requirements under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 which contains the laws about the payment of PPL. Note that one law discusses the rules about you being able to take the parental leave and the other the rules about the payment of money for PPL. It is possible to qualify for one and not the other. If you meet the Work Test, even if it is for more than one employer you will still be paid PPL, but your employer may not be required by law to give you leave. Given that you can’t work while receiving PPL this may be problematic for some.
- You don’t get PPL if you are Self Employed
You certainly are entitled to receive it; it just takes a little extra planning. You will need to specify in your application to be paid directly by Centrelink rather than an employer. Also, you will need to work out the best way for you to show Centrelink that you have worked the 330 hours in the Work Test. This varies for everyone but you could keep a diary or perhaps show the invoices that you have issued during the period before your due date.
- You apply after you have given birth
Not necessarily. You can submit your application up to 90 days before your due date. Personally, I think that this is the best time to do this as once you have given birth, the last thing you want to be doing is paperwork! You will receive a proof of birth document from your hospital that can be uploaded to Centrelink online or on their App which is then matched to your application to begin your payment of PPL.
- Everyone can get it.
That would be nice, wouldn’t it? As I mentioned, you need to meet the Work Test in order to receive PPL. You also need to be a permanent resident, earn less than $150,000 in the financial year that ended before your application and not is working at all whilst receiving your PPL.
- You have to go into Centrelink to Apply.
If you can avoid doing this then do it! Your application can be done online through the governments’ website my.gov.au. If you have never dealt with Centrelink before you will need to go in to allow for them to view your original documents for proof of identity. Otherwise, apply online as much as you can, I can’t stress this highly enough!!
- Paid Parental Leave includes Superannuation
The law does not require your employer to continue to pay into your Superfund while you are receiving PPL. However, I have noticed a very small number of companies starting to do this. Given the large variation is Superannuation balances between men and women the older they get then I wonder if this could be something that future governments consider changing.
I’m sure there are many more myths surrounding Paid Parental Leave so I hope this covers the main ones.
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