Who can take parental leave
Female employees who are having a baby can apply for parental leave. If two spouses/partners assume the care of a child under six years that they intend to jointly adopt, they can nominate which of them is primarily eligible for parental leave.
You are eligible for parental leave if you have worked for the same employer for an average of at least 10 hours a week, and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month, in the six or 12 months immediately before the baby’s expected due date or the date you have assumed the care of a child you intend to adopt.
You can take parental leave multiple times, as long as six months elapse between the date you returned to work and the expected date of birth of the subsequent child. You must also meet the eligibility requirements each time.
There are different entitlements available to employees depending on whether they meet the six or 12 month criteria. If you have worked for the same employer for more than 12 months but have an inconsistent work pattern and do not meet the average hours of work criteria over the twelve months, you should also calculate your entitlement over six months as you may still be eligible for parental leave under the six month criteria.
The primary entitlement for paid parental leave rests with the birth mother. Where you have assumed the care of a child you intend to jointly adopt, the primary carer can transfer some or all of the payment to their spouse/partner, if they are also eligible. If the adoption is by one person alone, only that person can apply for paid parental leave. The spouse/partner must also meet either the six month or 12 month eligibility criteria as described above, or meet the self-employed eligibility criteria.
A spouse or partner is a person in a married, civil union or de facto relationship (including same-sex partners) with the mother or the primary carer who assumes the care of the child they intend to jointly adopt with their spouse/partner. They do not need to be the natural parent of the child.
To see how entitlements can be shared read our fact sheet: Summary of paid and unpaid leave entitlements.