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Recent changes to legislation have meant some significant changes to your maternity leave rights. Under current legislation, eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child are entitled to 18 weeks' leave that will be paid at the national minimum wage. In addition, eligible working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) get 2 weeks leave paid at the national minimum wage.
Australian employers are also required to provide 12 months of unpaid leave to permanent employees who have worked for at least 12 months prior to taking parental leave.
The Paid Parental Leave Scheme will cover employees including casual workers, the self-employed and contractors.
If you are eligible under the Paid Parental Leave Scheme, you can get taxable Paid Parental Leave payments at the level of the Federal Minimum Wage (currently $622.10 a week) for a maximum period of 18 weeks (until June 2014).
You must inform your employer of your intentions to take parental leave with at least 10 weeks notice and this needs to be in writing. Make sure to specify the start and end dates of your leave and confirm this again four weeks before the date you intend to start your leave. You can use our step-by-step guide for doing this here.
For more information on the new Paid Parental Leave Scheme visit the Department of Human Services website.
For more information see Maternity Leave.