Returning to work

You can only get Parental Leave Pay on days that you are on leave or not working.

Before you return to work for the first time after your child’s birth or adoption you must do both of the following:

  • claim Parental Leave Pay
  • get your Paid Parental Leave period.

How we decide if you’ve returned to work

We consider you’ve returned to work for the first time after the birth or adoption of your child if both of the following apply:

If you’re self employed, you can check on your business. We won’t consider you have returned to work. There’s more information for families about checking on your business when you’re self employed.

What it means if you got JobKeeper Payment

You couldn’t get income from JobKeeper Payment at the same time as Parental Leave Pay. You can get Parental Leave Pay after the income you got from JobKeeper Payment ended, if you didn’t work during that time. If you did work, we’ll consider you have returned to work.

What happens if you return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period

Your Paid Parental Leave period usually starts from the date you nominate.

If you return to work before the end of this period, it will end early. We can’t pay you any days remaining in your Paid Parental Leave period after you return to work.

We’ll also remove any Flexible Paid Parental Leave days you have connected to the end of your Paid Parental Leave period. We’ll return them to your balance for you to use at a later time.

If your Paid Parental Leave period ends early, you can transfer the unused part to another person. But, you must do this before you return to work. The person you’re transferring to must also meet eligibility criteria. They must submit their claim within 52 weeks from the child’s date of birth or adoption.

Read more about transferring Parental Leave Pay.

If you want to access Flexible Paid Parental Leave days

You can get Flexible Paid Parental Leave days before or after you return to work for the first time. But, you can only get them on days that either of the following apply:

  • you’re on leave or not working
  • you’re getting paid or unpaid leave from your employer.

We consider you’ve worked on a day if you have worked for at least one hour. You may also be able to access up to 10 keeping in touch days under the keeping in touch rules.

You must tell us if you’re working on a day that you asked to get Flexible Paid Parental Leave. When this happens we’ll do both of the following:

  • cancel this day
  • reassess any Flexible Paid Parental Leave days scheduled after the day that you worked.

We’ll return days that are cancelled or reassessed to your balance. You can use them at a later time.

Read more about Flexible Paid Parental Leave days.

What exceptions there are

In some cases you may still get Parental Leave Pay even if you return to work or are working. This is only for allowable reasons, including:

  • in the case of stillbirth or infant death
  • if your child needs to remain in hospital straight after birth and you go back to work 14 days or more after their birth
  • if you need to work to comply with a court ordered summons
  • if you are a defence force or law enforcement officer working due to a compulsory recall to duty
  • if you’re a health professional, emergency services worker or other essential worker, responding to a state, territory or national emergency.

You’re an essential worker if you either:

  • have specific skills essential in responding to an emergency
  • are involved in the production of goods or the delivery of services essential in responding to an emergency.

If you plan to return to work for one of these reasons, let us know online.

How to tell us you’re working

You must tell us if you:

  • are working for an allowable reason
  • return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period
  • are working or planning to work on a day you have asked to get Flexible Paid Parental Leave.

You can do this with your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select My Family, then Paid Parental Leave Circumstances once you sign in.

Page last updated: 1 July 2021