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Budget 2024: The Government has announced FamilyBoost, a proposed new childcare payment to help eligible families with the rising costs of Early Childhood Education (ECE). Find out more:

Find out when you can apply (and the deadline for your application), when payments start, and how paid parental leave payments affect your Best Start payments.

When you can apply

You must apply for paid parental leave payments before you return to work. You can apply:

  • before your baby’s first birthday if you or your partner or spouse gave birth to the child
  • before you have had permanent primary responsibility for the child under 6 years for 12 months.

Parental leave payments start the earlier of when you go on parental leave and your date of confinement (the date childbirth starts).

If you are an employee and are entitled to parental leave, you can choose to start parental leave any date up to 6 weeks before the expected due date of the baby, or earlier if any of these situations apply:

  • you and your employer agree to an earlier date
  • you have health concerns and a certificate from any medical practitioner or midwife telling you to go on parental leave early
  • your employer directs you to go on parental leave early because you cannot perform your work safely or adequately, and there is no other suitable work available.

If you apply after your baby is born, or have become the primary carer and you’re eligible for paid parental leave, we’ll pay you a lump sum to cover the period from your start date until your regular payments get under way.

Payments can start after any other paid leave finishes

If you’re an employee, and you’re taking other paid leave before starting your paid parental leave, your start date can be the day after your paid leave finishes.

Best Start and paid parental leave

If you receive paid parental leave payments, you cannot receive Best Start payments for the same period.

If you apply for paid parental leave for a period where you’ve been receiving Best Start payments, these Best Start payments will be treated as an overpayment.

Please apply on time

You cannot apply for paid parental leave after:

  • your child turns 1 (person who gave birth)
  • you’ve been the child’s primary carer for 1 year (other primary carers)
  • you return to work.

So please make sure you apply in time.

Example: Ellen takes annual leave to get ready for baby

Ellen’s expecting her first baby on 7 August. Her job keeps her very busy and she’s decided to take annual leave from work from 24 July to 10 August to catch her breath and take care of last-minute arrangements for baby.

Even though Ellen’s expected due date is 7 August, her paid parental leave will start on 11 August, after her annual leave finishes.

Example: Jenna applies for paid parental leave after getting Best Start payments

Jenna stopped work after giving birth, to care for her child, who was born on 10 October. She did not think she met the work requirements for paid parental leave, so she registered for Working for Families and began receiving family tax credit and Best Start.

In June 2023, after talking with another birth parent, Jenna realised she did qualify for paid parental leave. She sent in her application and the money was paid into her bank account every fortnight.

That means she has received an overpayment of Best Start.

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Last updated: 04 Apr 2024
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