Exceptions to the work test

Exceptions to the work test may apply in certain circumstances.

What happens if you have a pregnancy related illness or complications

You may meet the work test if you stopped work earlier than expected, as a direct result of your pregnancy. This may be because you either:

  • had a medical condition that got worse because of your pregnancy
  • developed an illness or complication with your pregnancy.

You’ll need to give us proof from both your doctor and your employer.

Proof from your doctor

You need to provide proof from your doctor or the hospital confirming the following about your illness or complication:

  • what it was
  • the date it started
  • that it prevented or reduced your ability to work
  • that it’s directly related to your pregnancy.

For example, you need to prove that your pregnancy was the reason a pre-existing condition got worse.

Proof from your employer

You’ll also need to provide proof from your employer. This needs to include both:

  • the date you stopped working
  • that you would’ve kept working during the work test period if you didn’t experience the illness or complication.

Proof if you’re self employed

If you’re self employed, you need to prove your ability to work reduced during the work test period. This may include the following:

  • existing and new contracts
  • self-declaration of self-employment status and the intention for the business to continue
  • a letter or declaration from your accountant confirming past and expected future of business
  • notifications of change to business activity
  • employment of a staff member to perform your usual work activities.

What happens if you have a premature birth

If your child’s born early, and you don’t meet the work test, there are exceptions. If this occurs, we include the work you would have performed up until your child's expected date of birth.

When you claim, we may ask you to provide the following proof:

  • your child’s expected date of birth, from a doctor or hospital
  • the dates you had planned to work during your work test period, from your employer.

What happens if you have a dangerous job or workplace hazards

You may meet the Dangerous Jobs provision if all of the following apply:

  • you’re pregnant or the birth mother of a newborn child
  • you had to stop work because a workplace hazard was a risk to your pregnancy
  • you won't meet the work requirements in the 13 month work test period ending the day before your child’s birth.

If you meet the Dangerous Jobs provision, we’ll move your work test period. It will no longer be the 13 month period ending the day before your child’s birth. Instead, your 13 month work test period will end the day you stopped work.

You’ll still need to meet the work test in this earlier period to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay.

Not everyone who had to stop work due to coronavirus will meet the Dangerous Jobs provision. You must provide proof of your work circumstances and that you stopped work because of the risk to your pregnancy.

Proof of work

You’ll need to provide proof confirming both of the following:

  • what the workplace hazards were
  • they were part of the work you were doing before your child’s birth.

The proof may include:

  • a letter from your employer
  • a copy of your contract or workplace agreement
  • a statutory declaration of your job description, if you’re self-employed.

Proof of the risk to your pregnancy

You’ll also need to provide proof that you stopped work because workplace hazards were a risk to your pregnancy. This may include:

  • a medical certificate
  • a letter from your employer (if they are a medical professional)
  • a copy of your industry regulations or guidelines that confirm you were unable to continue working due to your pregnancy.

What the extended work test due to coronavirus (COVID-19) is

If COVID-19 affected your work, you may be able to use an extended work test when you claim. You can access the extended work test when both the following apply:

  • you don’t meet the standard work test because your employment hours reduced, or you stopped work, due to COVID-19
  • your child’s birth or adoption was between 22 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

If you’re eligible, we’ll extend your work test period. It will change from 13 months to 20 months before the birth or adoption of your child. Keep in mind, we count 20 months as 600 days.

By extending your work test period, you’ll be able to use work you did before COVID-19 affected your employment.

You’ll still need to meet the other work test requirements within the extended 20 month period. These include all of the following:

  • worked at least 10 months in your extended work test period
  • worked at least 330 hours in that 10 month period
  • had no more than a 12 week break between any work days in that 10 month period.

If you’re eligible, you can nominate a start date for your payment that’s in the past. It can be as early as your child’s date of birth or adoption.

However if you nominate a start date in the past, we may have paid you too much. This can happen if, in the same period, you or your partner got either:

If this happens you may owe us money which you’ll have to pay back.

Page last updated: 6 May 2021