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The following information is policy guidance only. It is based on the information available from Services Australia. Any questions about the Australian Government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme should be directed to Services Australia.

What is the Australian Government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme?


The Government's Paid Parental Leave scheme is separate from Defence's maternity, adoption and parental leave provisions. The Paid Parental Leave scheme is run by the Family Assistance Office. The Family Assistance Office provides information on how the Paid Parental Leave scheme works, processes claims and assesses if a parent is eligible to receive Parental Leave Pay.

Not a leave provision

  1. The Paid Parental Leave scheme is not a leave provision, but provides a payment to complement leave-paid or unpaid-including maternity, adoption, parental, recreation and long service leave.

  2. Before claiming Parental Leave Pay through the Family Assistance Office you should plan your intended absence and discuss leave intentions with your supervisor.

  3. Receipt of Parental Leave Pay does not affect access or eligibility for any of the Defence benefits.

Government Parental Leave Pay

  1. The eligible parent must be absent from work to receive Parental Leave Pay. This may be on paid or unpaid leave — or a break in training for Reservists.

  2. To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, a parent's nominated start date must be within 34 weeks from the birth or adoption of the child. An eligible parent has the flexibility to choose when they wish to start receiving their Parental Leave Pay, however, it must be accessed in one continuous 18 week period and must be fully paid within the 52 week period from the date of birth or adoption of the child.

  3. Eligible working parents will be able to choose whether to claim Parental Leave Pay or Baby Bonus, depending on which is the best financial decision for their family.

  4. The Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator asks the eligible parent questions about their circumstances and provides a comparison between receiving Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus tailored to the specific circumstances of each family.

  5. Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus cannot both be claimed for the same child. In the case of multiple births (for example twins or triplets), you may be eligible to receive Parental Leave Pay for one child and Baby Bonus for the other child/children.

  6. If a parent returns to duty before the end of their 18 week Paid Parental Leave period, their Parental Leave Pay will stop.

    Note: In some circumstances Parental Leave Pay can be transferred to another eligible primary caregiver. The Family Assistance Office is able to provide further guidance on this.



Parental Leave Pay is taxable for all recipients, including Reservists, with tax being deducted at the individual's marginal tax rate at the time of payment.

Payment of Parental Leave Pay


Where the Family Assistance Office has approved a claim for Parental Leave Pay for a child born or adopted since 1 July 2011, an employer may be requested to make the Parental Leave Payment on behalf of the Family Assistance Office as part of the eligible claimants' pay. The Family Assistance Office will provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible parent who does not receive the payment from their employer.


  1. A member intending to receive Parental Leave Pay will need to plan and apply for sufficient leave to ensure they are absent from work while they are receiving the payments. The type of leave applied for (through Defence's usual leave application processes) will be different depending on the member's individual circumstance and may be a combination of types of leave, paid or unpaid.

  2. Claims for Parental Leave Pay can be lodged with the Family Assistance Office up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption of a child. Parents are encouraged to lodge their claim with Family Assistance Office early. The claim can be amended if the expected date of birth or adoption changes.

  3. At the earliest opportunity, and prior to submitting leave applications, a member is to discuss options regarding their intended leave and work arrangements with their commander. This allows for a clear understanding of the plan and assists in the planning of workloads to support the intended absence, working arrangements (such as part-time or part-time leave without pay) and return to work.

  4. It is recognised that sometimes leave plans can change and may need to be renegotiated with the commander both prior to and during periods of leave.

    Note: Initial plans and subsequent changes should be discussed and passed on to a new commander if a member's commander changes at any stage.

  5. It is not necessary for a member to indicate to their commander whether they are claiming Parental Leave Pay, although this may assist in ensuring adequate leave is approved. It is the responsibility of the member to make their own personal financial decision regarding Parental Leave Pay including applying for appropriate and sufficient leave.

Returning to work

  1. It is essential that regular contact is maintained between an absent member and their commander during any extended period of leave, including maternity or parental leave. In particular, changes within the workplaces should be communicated to an absent member as soon as practicable. Communication regarding workplace change must be in accordance with change management principles and procedures.

  2. If a parent chooses to return to work before the end of their 18 week Paid Parental Leave period, their Parental Leave Pay will stop. The exception to this is a parent's workplace participation for the purpose of 'keeping in touch'.

    Note: If an exceptional circumstance exists and a work area is considering recalling a member from their leave, the decision-maker is to be aware that this could have a financial implication for a member as a return to work could cease their eligibility for Parental Leave Pay. In this situation, the member should contact the Family Assistance Office to determine their eligibility status for Parental Leave Pay.

Keeping in touch

  1. Where they wish to, a parent can 'keep in touch' with the workplace. This means they can participate in workplace activities for up to 10 days during their Parental Leave Pay period without causing their Parental Leave Payments to stop.

  2. This only applies if the attendance is a voluntary decision by both the member and their workplace.

  3. The days that a parent is allowed to attend work for the purposes of 'keeping in touch' are not able to be used within the first two weeks from the birth of the child. Additionally, if a member on maternity leave wishes to participate in the workplace during the six weeks following the birth of her child, she will need to provide medical evidence that supports her fitness for work.

  4. A parent does not have to use all of the allowable 10 days and the days do not need to be used all at once. A member is paid their usual wages or salary in addition to their Parental Leave Pay for the time they attend duty.

  5. Keeping in touch days do not extend a parent's Parental Leave Pay period or their Defence maternity or parental leave.

Can Paid Parental Leave be shared between parents?


Unused Parental Leave Pay can be transferred — in full or part — to an eligible partner. The Family Assistance Office is able to provide guidance on this.

Your employee ID on the Services Australia Parental Leave claim form


When completing the Family Assistance Office claim form, to assist with administration of payments, Defence requires that you add a prefix to your employee ID, as shown in the following table.

Prefix for employee ID
If you are a... Add this prefix... So your ID looks like...
ADF: Regular or CFTS ADF ADF1234567
Reservist RES RES1234567

Pay and conditions manual

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