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Yes they certainly can. If you have a baby or adopt a child on or after 1 January 2013, you or your partner could be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay.
Eligible working fathers and partners can obtain up to 2 weeks of Dad and Partner Pay when they have or adopt a child. Dad and Partner Pay will provide 2 weeks government funded payment (at the National Minimum Wage) This can be taken concurrently with the primary carer 18 week government funded Paid Parental Leave. You can get the full details of the plan here.
The current rate for Dad and Partner Pay is $641.05 per week before tax. This is the hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage x 7.6 (hours in a standard working day) x 5 (days in a standard working work). Dad and Partner Pay is taxable income and it may affect other family assistance payments so make sure you keep close track of your payment records so you can file your tax return correctly.
Eligibility for Dad and partner pay is based on certain criteria including being:
It is important to note, if you have worked continuously for your employer for 12 months or more, you may be entitled to unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009.
According to the National Employment Standards you can take up to 12 months as unpaid parental leave following the birth of your child or placement of an adoptive child under the age of 5. Parents can split this time, but the leave must be taken as one continuous period (that is one after the other).
Some employees can actually receive more generous entitlements than the law states because they are covered by a specific Award or workplace agreement. Some employers also choose to provide their employees with more generous leave entitlements to attract and keep key employees. You need to discuss your entitlements with your employer so that you can apply for the most useful one for your family.
You can find out more about applying for leave here.