Bus driver Shelley Parker has experienced something no mother ever wants to experience: She was denied paid parental leave.
“It was horrible… I was terribly upset,” the Sydney woman told Daily Mail Australia. “I spoke to a lady (from Centrelink — which is delivered by the Australian Government Department of Human Services) on the phone about it and ended up bursting into tears. It’s incredibly stressful and distressing.”
She continued, “We were really counting on this… everything, especially raising a child, costs so much money nowadays.”
Parker claims that she was denied paid parental leave, despite having met the requirements to work 10 months out of 13 prior to giving birth. The problem is that those 10 months were not consecutive, even though the new mum claims she was never told by Centrelink that this was a requirement.
Do you meet the requirements? You need to tick these boxes:
1. Be the primary carer
According to the Australian Government’s Fair Work Ombudsman, you are eligible for up to 18 weeks parental leave paid at the national minimum wage if you are the primary carer (the person who meets the child’s physical needs) of a newborn or adopted child.
2. Meet residence requirements
The Australian Government Department of Human Services reports that you must also satisfy the residence requirements and be living in Australia at the time of your child’s birth or when you become the primary caregiver. You should also have either Australian citizenship, a permanent visa, a special category visa or hold a certain temporary visa type.
3. Meet the work test requirements
You need to have met the paid parental leave work test, which according to the Australian Government Department of Human Services requires you to have worked for at least “10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and 330 hours in that 10 month period, which is just over 1 day a week, and had no more than an 8 week gap between 2 consecutive working days.”
A working day is classified as “when you have worked for at least 1 hour.”
4. Know your individual adjustable taxable income
To be eligible for paid parental leave, you need to have an “individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year either before the date of birth or adoption, or the date you claim, whichever is earlier,” the website reports.
5. Be on leave or not working
And lastly, you need to be on leave or not working at the time that you become the child’s primary carer until the end of your paid parental leave period.
To read more about paid parental leave, visit www.humanservices.gov.au.