Experiencing exceptional circumstances

You can get Parental Leave Pay for a child born or adopted from 1 July 2023 in exceptional circumstances if you’re not the parent or their partner.

The birth mother or first adoptive parent must give you approval to claim Parental Leave Pay. If they don’t, you can only get it in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances are situations such as severe illness, a serious accident or caring for a child born of a surrogacy arrangement.

If you’re not the child’s parent, you may only get Parental Leave Pay if either:

  • the birth mother and their partner aren’t able to care for the child
  • the initial adoptive parent and their partner aren’t able to care for the child.

For you to get Parental Leave Pay for exceptional circumstances, all the following must also apply:

  • you become the child’s primary carer within 52 weeks of their birth or adoption
  • you’ll care for them for at least 26 weeks
  • they aren’t in your care as part of a decision made by a state or territory child protection agency, unless you’re a legal parent.

If other approved circumstances exist where it is reasonable that you are the primary carer for the child, you may also be eligible. You should make a claim once the child enters your care due to the exceptional circumstances. You will need to contact the Centrelink families line to discuss your circumstances.

You may be able to get the full amount of Parental Leave Pay under exceptional circumstances. This is so you can take time off work to care for the child.

If someone already started to get Parental Leave Pay for the child, you may be eligible for the rest of it. This is even if you haven’t met the work test or income test.

If you’re caring for the child in exceptional circumstances, you can give approval to share some or all of the days with your partner.

Page last updated: 29 April 2024.
QC 64480