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 all of 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 any of 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.

You need to show that without the premature birth you would have met the work test.

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

  • the job you have been doing before your child was born
  • the date you stopped working
  • what the workplace hazards were
  • why the hazards stopped you from continuing work
  • they were part of the work you were doing before your child’s birth.

The proof may include any of these:

  • 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 any of these:

  • 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.

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 any of the following:

  • a copy of your contract, industry regulations, or guidelines
  • a statutory declaration.

If you provide a statutory declaration, it needs to state the all of the following:

  • the type of work you did
  • your job description
  • the date you stopped working
  • what the workplace hazards were
  • why the hazards stopped you from continuing work.

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.

What happens if you are affected by family and domestic violence

You may meet the work test if your ability to work was directly affected by family and domestic violence.

A social worker may need to call you to discuss your claim. The call will come from a private number.

We may also need you to provide proof of your circumstances.

Proof may include any of these:

  • a letter from someone who knows your circumstances
  • a letter from a support service, like a shelter, refuge, or community housing
  • a police or court document, such as a domestic violence order
  • a statutory declaration.

Proof from your employer

You’ll also need to provide proof from your employer.

You do not have to tell your employer about the family and domestic violence. They only need to confirm that work was available.

The proof needs to include both:

  • the dates or periods you weren’t able to work
  • that you would’ve kept working during the work test period.

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 any of the following:

  • existing and new contracts
  • 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
  • self-declaration of self-employment status and the intention for the business to continue.

If you are in this situation and don’t meet the work test please contact our families line to discuss your circumstances. You may still be eligible.

You can claim online from 6 December 2021.

What happens if you or someone you care for has a severe medical condition

If you or an immediate family member who you care for has or had a severe medical condition, this may have affected your ability to work during your work test period.

You may meet the work test if your ability to work was directly affected by a severe medical condition. This may be because you either:

  • had a severe medical condition
  • have been caring for a close family member with a severe medical condition.

A close family member is any of these:

  • your child
  • your partner
  • your sibling
  • your parent
  • your partner’s parent
  • someone you have legal guardianship over
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this includes cultural kinship relationships.

Proof from a doctor

You’ll need to give us proof to show that without the severe medical condition you would have met the work test.

You need to provide proof from a doctor or hospital confirming all of the following:

  • what the severe medical condition was
  • who experienced it
  • the period you were affected by the medical condition, or cared for your family member
  • that it prevented or reduced your ability to work, or required you to care for your family member.

Proof from your employer

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

  • the period you were not able to work
  • that you would’ve kept working during the work test period, if not for the severe medical condition.

Proof if you’re self-employed

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

  • existing and new contracts
  • 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
  • self-declaration of self-employment status and the intention for the business to continue.

If you are in this situation please contact our families line to discuss your circumstances. You may still be eligible.

You can claim online from 6 December 2021.

What happens if you are affected by a natural disaster

If you have been directly affected by a natural disaster declared by the Commonwealth or a state or territory, this may have affected your ability to work during the work test period.

You will need to provide proof of both of these:

  • that you have been directly affected by the natural disaster
  • the address or location where you have been affected, for example, your home or work address.

Proof may include any of the following:

  • evidence of major damage to your home, like an insurance claim, building report, invoices for completed repairs or quotes for scheduled repairs
  • lease agreement
  • letter from your real estate agent
  • driver’s licence
  • utility notice or rates notice in your name
  • media articles showing impacts on your community
  • a letter from your employer if your workplace was affected by the disaster
  • a statutory declaration explaining how you have been impacted.

Proof from your employer

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

  • the period you were not able to work
  • that you would’ve kept working during the work test period if you didn’t experience the natural disaster.

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 any of the following:

  • existing and new contracts
  • 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 self-declaration of self-employment status and the intention for the business to continue.

If you are in this situation please contact our families line to discuss your circumstances. You may still be eligible.

You can claim online from 6 December 2021.

Page last updated: 26 November 2021