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Dad and Partner Pay – Parental Leave Guidelines for Australian Fathers in Employment

In Australia, paid parental leave for dads is available for qualifying employees. This payment is known as Dad and Partner Pay and is open to eligible working fathers and partners, including same-sex partners. This article provides comprehensive information for employers, as well as for dads and partners who are new parents, and the paid parental leave options available to them.

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What is Dad and Partner Pay?

Australia recognises that parental leave for dads is important to allow fathers to spend time with their newborn children. Dad and Partner Pay is a payment that is made to new fathers for a period of two weeks. If eligible, this government-funded time off allows new fathers to spend precious time with their newborn or newly adopted children and develop a close bond with them in those all-important first days and weeks. This government-funded time off must be taken in the first year following birth or adoption, although a claim for Dad and Partner Pay can be submitted up to three months before or within 12 months after the employee becomes a new father. Government-paid parental leave can be taken at any time before or after any other leave an employee may have negotiated with you to maximise their time at home. Note: Remember that the employee’s partner might be able to claim up to 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave through their employer. This means that your employee and their partner might be able to get a total of 20 weeks of parental leave by combining Paid Parental Leave with Dad and Partner Pay.

Who can get government-paid parental leave?

To qualify for Dad’s Pay, the employee must be one of the following:

  • the child’s biological father
  • the partner of the birth mother
  • an adoptive parent
  • the partner of an adoptive parent
  • the person caring for a child born of a surrogacy arrangement.

In some circumstances, an employee may also be eligible for paid parental leave if they are the partner of the biological father or the partner of a new carer if care arrangements have changed. But note that foster care or permanent care arrangements are excluded. There are a number of additional criteria an employee needs to fulfil to be eligible for dad parental leave. In particular, they have to:

  • care for the child every day for the duration of the Dad and Partner Pay period
  • meet residence requirements
  • pass a work test (i.e. have worked 10 of the 13 months before the Dad and Partner Pay period starts and worked at least 330 hours in that 10-month period)
  • meet the income test (i.e. earn no more than $150,000 in the financial year closest to the date of the claim)
  • not work or take paid leave during their Dad and Partner Pay period.

Check eligibility: To find out if they are eligible and to apply for Dads and Partner Pay, your employee should visit the Services Australia website.

How much is Dad and Partner Pay?

As of 2021, Dad and Partner Pay is $772.55 per week pre-tax. This rate is based on the weekly national minimum wage. The payment is made for a period of up to two weeks in total, and employed dads or partners must take unpaid leave during their Dad and Partner Pay period. Related: Australia Leads the Way on Family-Friendly, Flexible Jobs

How is the Dad and Partner Pay payment made?

According to Services Australia, Dad and Partner Pay is received as follows:

  • It is paid directly into the bank account of the employee’s choice.
  • It is paid in one lump sum.
  • PAYG tax at the rate of 15% is withheld unless a different rate is requested.

The employer may top up the government payment with a supplementary amount, e.g. the difference between the government payment and the employee’s usual salary. This does not affect the employee’s eligibility and it will make you an attractive employer to both current and potential new employees.

Other entitlements in addition to government-paid parental leave

In Australia, new working parents may qualify for a number of benefits in addition to Dads and Partner Pay. These include:

  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Newborn Upfront Payment
  • Newborn Supplement
  • Family Tax Benefit
  • Child Care Subsidy

The Centrelink Payment Finder can assist employees in determining which payments may apply to their situation.

Unpaid parental leave

Dad and Partner Pay doesn’t change your employee’s entitlement to unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards. These regulations stipulate that parents (both mothers and fathers) who have worked for their employer for at least 12 continuous months are entitled to take up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. Note that both parents can take up to three weeks of this unpaid parental leave at the same time.

Summary

Here is a reminder of the key points of the Australian Dad and Partner Pay scheme:

  • offers up to two weeks of paid leave for eligible employees
  • typically paid to the biological father or to the partner of the birth mother, to the adoptive parent or the partner of the adoptive parent, or to the person caring for the child born of a surrogacy arrangement
  • eligibility depends on factors such as work, income and residency tests
  • paid at the National Minimum Wage ($772.55 per week as of 2021)
  • won’t affect other employer benefits to which the employee might be entitled

Dad and Partner Pay is a great incentive to help dads support their partners or care for their new baby for a period of time. Time spent at home is vital and enables new parents to form a close bond with their child. Encourage your staff to make use of their entitlements and enjoy some all-important family time. The Fair Work website contains detailed and official information for employees interested in parental leave for fathers or mothers. As laws and regulations can and do change frequently, it’s always a good idea to refer your workers to this official site to ensure they have access to the latest and currently valid rules.

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