Benefits and Support

Find out what support and benefits to expect while you look after your baby...

Maternity Leave and Benefits

Maternity leave varies from State to State and qualification for maternity leave depends on how long the woman has been employed by her current employer. Federal law states that a woman qualifies for maternity leave if employed by the same employer for at least 12 months. She must provide a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy to the employer no later than ten weeks before the due date. Maternity leave may begin within six weeks of the expected date of birth.

Legally a pregnant woman's job must be kept open until she returns from maternity leave and it is illegal to fire an employee while she is pregnant.

  • To find out more about state/territory laws on qualification for maternity leave, the length of maternity leave and when this can be taken: Click here

Baby Bonus

Following the birth or an adoption, parents are entitled to a baby bonus, paid in 13 fortnightly instalments. The bonus is paid per child, so in the event of twins or triplets, the amount is doubled or tripled.

Maternity and paternity benefits

Australia's first national Paid Parental Leave scheme began on 1 January 2011. The scheme is fully government-funded and provides up to 18 weeks Parental Leave pay at the National Minimum Wage for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011. Paid Parental Leave can be taken in addition to any existing employer-funded schemes.

Families who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave may still have access to the Government Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefits.

It is recommended to find out as soon as possible what the pregnancy and maternity policies are at work. Workplace agreements may include the following:

  • Working from home
  • Job sharing
  • Part-time work and flexible work hours
  • Work-based arrangements for child care

Information on benefits and payments available following a birth, see the Centrelink website.

Mothers' Groups

After the birth, a mother has the option to get involved in a 'Mothers Group'. A Mothers Group can provide a support network for new mothers and an opportunity to meet other new mums. Group members meet for coffee, activities and to share experiences, tips and concerns.

  • For more information about how to locate a Mothers Group: Click here

There are also activities and classes (especially in the cities) for new mothers to participate in. These include baby massage, yoga, training squads to help get back in shape, music classes and much more. Publications such as Kid Spot can provide information on what's on and where.

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