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Federal Member for Fowler, Chris Hayes MP, said that from today, working parents expecting a baby in the New Year will be able to lodge their claims for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
“We know very clearly that young children, babies in particular, need the full-time care of their parents, particularly in those vital early months of social, cognitive and physical development and to do this many parents need to take time off work,” Mr Hayes said.
“That is why the Labor Government is introducing Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave Scheme. And to make it easier on parents when the baby arrives, parents can apply for paid parental leave three months before their baby is due.”
The scheme will provide eligible working parents of babies born or adopted from 1 January 2011 with parental leave pay for up to 18 weeks at the minimum wage, which is currently $570 a week before tax.
To help parents get all their paperwork done before the birth of their child, claims for Family Tax Benefit and Maternity Immunisation Allowance can also be lodged early, using a combined claim form with Paid Parental Leave.
Mr Hayes said eligible expectant parents can apply from today on www.familyassist.gov.au or they can pick an application form up from local Family Assistance Offices located in Medicare and Centrelink offices, or by calling 13 61 50.
Mr Hayes encouraged Fowler residents planning to claim paid parental leave to discuss their leave arrangements with their employer before lodging the claim.
Parents who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave, or who choose not to participate in the scheme, will be able to continue to access the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit if they are eligible.
“It’s important to remember that the Labor Government is also committed to introducing two weeks paid paternity leave from 1 July 2012, giving local dads time at home with their new born babies,” Mr Hayes said.