First-time expectant parents Samantha and Derick O’Leary, of Lismore, will miss out on the Federal Government’s new paid parental leave scheme, which starts in January.
First-time expectant parents Samantha and Derick O’Leary, of Lismore, will miss out on the Federal Government’s new paid parental leave scheme, which starts in January. Jacklyn Wagner

Couple miss parent leave scheme

SAMANTHA and Derick O’Leary, of Lismore, are expecting their first baby this week, so will miss out on the Federal Government’s new paid parental leave scheme, due to start in January.

Unlike many of their peers though, they’re not too bothered because Samantha works for Telstra, which already provides its employees with up to six months paid maternity leave.

“I’m pretty happy about that,” she said yesterday.

“But many people from our prenatal classes work for small businesses and some will have to work right up to their due dates, so they’re finding it a bit hard.”

The 10 couples in the O’Leary’s prenatal group had hoped the scheme would start sooner.

“We expected it to be rolled out earlier, so some are disappointed,” Samantha said.

“Working for a company like Telstra that looks after its mothers, I know I’ve got it pretty good.”

Yesterday, Federal Page MPJanelle Saffin reminded eligible working parents expecting a baby in the New Year that they can lodge their claims now.

“Parents planning to claim paid parental leave should plan their leave arrangements and discuss these with their employer before lodging their claim,” she said.

While the scheme provides eligible working parents with parental leave pay for up to 18 weeks at the minimum wage, many casual and part-time workers, contractors and self-employed people will also have access to paid parental leave for the first time.

Expectant parents should check with Family AssistanceOffices, located in Medicare and Centrelink offices, to find out what options are available to them, or visit www.familyassist.gov.au

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE SCHEME

Federal Government funded for working parents of children born or adopted on or after January 1, 2011.

All permanent and part-time employees should be eligible.

Can be transferred to the other parent.

Paid at the National Minimum Wage.

$570 a week before tax.

Up to 18 weeks.

Can be taken any time within the first year after birth.



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