GAY parents now have the same rights as heterosexual couples and will be fully eligible for paid parental leave when they have a baby.
For the first time, the Government’s paid parental leave for fathers will be extended to dads who whose partner is another dad.
Two women who become mums are also eligible for the paid leave.
The two weeks of baby care leave, paid at the minimum wage of about $606 a week, will from next January be available for fathers with same sex partners.
The baby they care for could come from adoption, surrogacy or other arrangements with a birth mother.
It is the exact scheme which will be used by fathers in conventional households from January 1.
Last January the Government introduced paid parental leave of 18 weeks for the “primary carer”, usually the mother. Some 200,000 have taken up the baby care break.
The new Dad and Partner Leave will give fathers a paid fortnight to help with the new arrival. In a same sex household one of the men will have to nominate as the primary carer if they want the 18 week parental leave, and the other as the “dad”.
“The new Dad and Partner Pay will help dads take more time off in those critical early months to bond with their baby and help mums right from the start,” said Minister for Families Jenny Macklin today.
Ms Macklin said the paid leave would be a good opportunity for the self-employed, contractors, and casual workers who generally don’t have paternity leave entitlements from an employer.
Eligible dads or partners must have worked at least 330 hours (just over one day a week) in 10 of the 13 months before the start of their Dad and Partner Pay period, with no more than an eight-week gap between two consecutive working days;
They must have earned $150,000 or less in the previous financial year; and be on unpaid leave or not working and be helping to care for the child during their two weeks.
A father can be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay even if their partner is not receiving Paid Parental Leave.
“We encourage expecting parents to apply early for both Dad and Partner Pay and Paid Parental Leave to get all of the paperwork sorted before the birth of their new baby,” said Ms Macklin. Parents can apply up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption.
By Malcolm Farr, National Political Editor
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