For some parents waiting for their little bundle of joy to arrive can be an exciting and nerve-racking experience for many reasons. You might be wondering, will I be able to look after my mini me? How will I cope in those first few weeks when life is a haze of night time feeds and lots of cuddles. It’s always wonderful when your husband gets a few weeks of leave from work however if this leave is unpaid, it can make a magical time quite stressful. So are dad’s entitled to paid parental leave so they can spend time changing nappies and bonding with their newborn?

Before we get into the facts and figures let’s look at some statistics about Australia and Australian men’s attitude towards parental leave.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development only one in fifty Australian men take parental leave. Australian results compare with 40% or more of men taking leave in some Nordic countries such as Sweden and Iceland.

These low scores in Australia could be due to the fact that men on average earn 18% more than women, based on average weekly earnings.

On September 4, 2011 the Labour government announced they would introduce paid parental leave for fathers in Australia.

Supporting dads or partners caring for a newborn or recently adopted child can receive 2 weeks government funded pay. This pay will be based on the rate of the national minimum wage (currently $657.00 per week before tax) when you are on unpaid parental leave from your employer.

This benefit is available to full time, part time, casual, seasonal contractor and self-employed workers. To receive government funded dad or partner pay you will need to meet an eligibility criteria as this payment is income tested.

Dad and partner pay is taxable income and may affect other benefits you may be receiving.

For further information please check the human service website:

Most Australian workplaces remain traditional in their approach to gender and family according to La Trobe University’s Dr Amanda Cooklin. This is reflected in many workplaces not offering additional paid or unpaid parental leave for fathers.

So what is your role as an employer?

The Paid Parental Leave scheme has been designed to be a simple process for employers and is in addition to employer funded entitlements. Dad and partner pay does not change workplace leave entitlements.

Ensure you have a parental leave policy and required leave request forms in place that covers both mother’s and father’s and know what entitlements are available to your employees.

If you need help creating a parental leave policy or would like further information on this topic give HR Gurus a call today.

This blog was written by resident HR Guru Natalie Bol

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