Understanding Government Entitlements For Pregnancy and Maternity Leave

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Understanding Government Entitlements For Pregnancy and Maternity Leave

There is no doubt that your financial situation will change once you have a family. Even if only for a short time, adjusting from two incomes to one can place pressure on any household budget.

Understanding what Government benefits you are entitled to during pregnancy and maternity leave can help you plan ahead. But making heads or tails of some of the information on the Human Services website can be tricky.

When I went through the process the first time I wanted to ask a few questions of Centrelink so I headed into one of their offices. They sent me over to a computer.

I had already looked online though and I had additional questions I needed to be answered but I didn’t really get anywhere.

Now that I have gone through the process three times I understand the entitlements much better. I have put together this information to simplify what you may be entitled too.

Parental Leave Pay (Maternity Leave)

This may be available to the birth mother, adopting parent of a child or another person in exceptional circumstances.

To be eligible there is both an income and work test to receive the payment. You will need to have an adjustable taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year either before the date of birth or adoption or the date you claim, whichever is earlier.

The work requirements are that:

  • you have to have worked 10 out of the last 13 months before the birth of your child
  • in those 10 months you need to have worked 330 hours or more (just over a day a week)
  • you have no more than an 8-week gap between 2 working days.

Self-employment also counts as long as you are undertaking work for financial gains. Even if you are not making an income at this stage.

Parental Leave pay is paid for up to 18 weeks, at the rate of the national minimum wage, which at the time of publishing is $695 per week before tax.

If you do not meet the Parental Leave Pay requirements, you may be entitled to the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.

Dad and Partner Pay

This is a one-off payment that provides up to two week’s pay to new dads or partners. The amount is based on the current minimum wage and the dad or partner needs to be on unpaid leave or not working to be able to claim it.

The two weeks must be taken in one continuous block, within a year of your baby’s birth or adoption.

As with most government payments, there is a work and income test. The dad or partner must have received an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year either before the date of the claim or the date the Dad and Partner Pay period started, whichever is earlier.

The work requirements are the same as what the mum needs to do for Parental Leave Pay. That you have to

  • have worked 10 out of the last 13 months before the birth of your child
  • in those 10 months you need to have worked 330 hours or more (just over a day a week)
  • have no more than an 8-week gap between 2 working days.

Receiving this payment does not affect any paid leave your partner might be entitled to from their employer. But they cannot overlap paid leave and Dad and Partner pay leave.

Family Tax Benefits

There are two parts for Family Tax Benefit – Part A and Part B.

Family Tax Benefit – Part A

Is paid for each dependent child up to 19 years old. The amount you receive depends on your annual income, number of children in your care and their age.

If your household income is less than $52,706 than you may be eligible for the maximum rate of FTB Part A per child. The rate reduces the more you earn until it reaches zero.

If your family’s income is less than $80,000 you may also receive a FTB Part A Supplement after your payments have been balanced at the end of each financial year. This payment is $737.30 per child.

Family Tax Benefit – Part B

This payment provided additional assistance to families with one main income and dependent children:

  • up to 12 years of age for couples
  • up to 18 years of age for a single parent, grandparent or great grandparent carer

Single parents and couples may be eligible for payments if the primary earner’s annual income is $100,000 or less.

Two working parent families may still be eligible if the second income is less than:

  • $27,613, if your youngest child is under five years old
  • $21,499, if your youngest child is between five and 18 years old

Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement

If you are eligible for Family Tax Benefit A at a rate greater than $0, and don’t qualify for Parental Leave Pay than you may be entitled to the Newborn Upfront Payment. This is a lump sum of $540 and is not taxable.

The Newborn Supplement depends on your family’s income as well as how many children you have. You may be paid it for up to 13 weeks, receiving a maximum of $1,618.89 for your first child or a maximum of $540.54 for other children.

If you receive at least the base rate of FTB Part A you will receive the maximum newborn supplement. If your FTB Part A is less than the base rate your Newborn Supplement will be paid at a reduced rate.

Multiple Birth Allowance

You receive $155.12 a fortnight for triplets or $206.64 a fortnight for quadruplets if you receive FTB Part A.

Child Care Benefits

If you make the decision to return to work, most families will be eligible for child care benefits. From 2 July 2018 changes will be made to these payments and we previously put together an article on the Changes to Child Care Payments which give you all the info you need to know.

The Human Services website does have an online estimator which can help you to work out what you may be entitled too.

Katie-Lavercombe

 

Katie is the Managing Director and Editor at Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking coffee, playing lego, superheroes, and managing a thriving business. She lives with her husband and three children in beautiful Brisbane. You can read her story here.

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Katie -

Author

Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.

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