There’s a lot of things to do before baby comes.

Buy ALL the baby essentials, prepare the nursery, stage an adorable maternity shoot. And, of course, sort out your financial situation.

The latter is the least fun task, but it has to be done. Avoid the headache, the frustration and the countless calls to Centrelink (that often make things even more confusing) and let us take you through the process.

Here is our step-by-step guide on how to apply for Paid Parental Leave.

What is it:

Paid Parental Leave is 18 weeks paid leave away from work. Mum or dad can take it but whoever takes it MUST not work during this time and must use the time off to care for bub. Pay is currently $740.60 per week before tax.

You don’t have to take it as soon as bub is born, but most parents do. You can also choose to take paid parental leave in increments so you can gradually return to work. Learn more about that here.

You may also want to take annual leave, long service leave or time off without pay too. This will depend on your situation and how much time you want to take off. Just remember, all parents have the right to take up to TWO years off their job (without pay) and still return to their position.

How it works:

You can receive Paid Parental Leave two ways – directly through Centrelink or through your employer. If going through your employer, Centrelink will give the money to your employer and you will be paid through them. Your employer needs to know about your plans to take leave, so don’t leave it until the last minute.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for Paid Parental Leave you must:

  • Be the primary carer of your newborn or adopted child
  • Earn under $150,000 (individually)
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be working. To get Parental Leave Pay you need to have worked for 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child AND have worked a total of 330 hours, around 1 day a week, in that 10-month period.

There are exceptions to this rule including medical conditions, pregnancy complications or premature birth.

Ready to get started? Here we go!

Step one: Notify your employer

Before you start the paperwork process, let your employer know. I suggest telling them around the 15-25 week mark. 

They also need to register and read the Parental Leave Pay information for employers. You will probably need to write a formal letter/email outlining when the baby is due and what weeks you would like off (pending the birth).

Step two: Sorting out MyGov

First of all, ensure you have a MyGov account and that it’s linked to Centrelink.

Basically, MyGov is the main hub for all your government needs – Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, Aged Care, Job Search.

But, you have to LINK these services to your MyGov account. You can do so under the SERVICES tab in MyGov. If you don’t have a Centrelink or MyGov account, you will need to set them up. 

TIP: Get the Centrelink App as soon as you have a Centrelink account. It makes things so much easier! You can simply take photos of the documents and upload them to your Centrelink Vault.

Step three: Getting the documents you need

You need a lot of supporting documents and details to go with your claim. This includes:

  • Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN)
  • Tax File Number
  • Your Employer’s contact details including their Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Your bank account details
  • Evidence of residency (passport, birth certificate, VISA number)
  • PAYG or Tax Statement from the financial year, either before the date of your claim or before your child’s date of birth or adoption – whichever is earlier.
  • Proof of child’s birth (this comes later).

Step four: Filling out the application form

The easiest way to make your claim and apply for paid parental leave is online and BEFORE bub is born. That way your payment will be all set up and all you need to do is fill out the final step and you’re good to go.

Keep in mind that it can take a few weeks for the claim to be processed so you may want to have a bit of extra money saved up if you are relying on that income straight away.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sign in to myGov on your computer and go to Centrelink. You will need to have your phone handy as they also send you a CODE to ensure security.
  2. Go to the PAYMENTS AND CLAIMS tab on the menu and choose to MAKE A CLAIM.
  3. Choose the FAMILIES icon and press GET STARTED. 
  5. Go through the questions and answer as best you can.
  6. SUBMIT your claim.
  7. TRACK your claim. Once you submit your claim you will receive a receipt with your ID number and a link to track the progress. You can do so through the Centrelink App or through your MyGov account. If you have made your claim before the baby is born, your claim will read ASSESSED.

Step five: The final steps (after baby is born)

You will need to submit proof that the baby is born before you will receive payment. You can wait until you receive bub’s birth certificate or go with the option detailed below.

Instead of waiting for the birth certificate, use the Parent Pack Newborn Child Declaration Form. This is the last page of the Parent Pack you will get from the hospital and it’s signed by a doctor or midwife. Take a photo of it, upload it to your Centrelink App vault and you’re ready to rock and roll!

Other tasks to add to the list 

Sit back, relax and have a huge CUPPA because WOW, newborn paperwork is ANNOYING! But, hey, once it’s done, it’s done and you can enjoy 18 weeks of blissful baby time without worrying about money!

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Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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