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JobKeeper: What happens when you have a baby?

Lucy Dean
·3-min read
Australian cash, pregnant woman. JobKeeper concept. Images: Getty
Here's what happens to your JobKeeper payments when you have a baby. Images: Getty

Parents needing to take leave to care for a newborn during the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to receive JobKeeper payments when they’re on unpaid parental leave, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FW) has confirmed.

But if they access the government’s paid parental leave scheme, their JobKeeper payments will temporarily stop while they’re in the receipt of paid parental leave or dad and partner pay, the FWO explained in a Facebook post.

Once their government paid parental leave payments end, JobKeeper will kick back in – provided their employer is still eligible.

In order to access the government’s 18 weeks of parental leave pay, you must be the primary carer or a newborn or newly adopted child and have earned less than $150,000 in the last financial year.

You also cannot be working during the period when you’re claiming it.

To claim the government’s parental leave pay, you’ll need to check your eligibility and ensure that you’re applying within 34 weeks of the baby’s birth or adoption. The government won’t pay you before this date.

Additionally, you need to have worked for 10 of the 13 months before this date for at least one day a week. You will also need to talk to your employer at least 10 weeks before the baby’s birth or adoption. Your employer will then register with Services Australia. Then, you will officially make your claim through myGov.

Once approved, the government will consider your start date as the day you have chosen. This can be the day of the baby’s birth or adoption or later, but it can’t be earlier. The first payment will generally be within 14 days of the start date if you’re being paid directly through Services Australia. If your employer is paying you, it will usually be on your next registered payday.

As it stands, Australians receiving the government’s parental leave pay will get $753.90 per week before tax, or $1,507.80 per fortnight, in line with minimum wage settings. That’s largely on par with the current JobKeeper settings.

However, once JobKeeper payments begin to taper from 28 September, that parental leave pay will actually reflect an increase in income support.

On that date, the JobKeeper payments will reduce in value from $1,500 a fortnight to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time workers and $750 for workers doing less than 20 hours per fortnight.

Then, from 4 January, the payments will reduce to $1,000 at the higher rate and $650 for the lower rate.

Announcing the changes in July, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the $101 billion scheme needed to continue but become more targeted.

“What the review also found was that there were a number of features of JobKeeper that created adverse incentives which may become more pronounced over time as the economy recovers,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said at the time.

“This formed part of our considerations as we looked at the next phase of the JobKeeper program.”

The JobKeeper payment has provided income for around 2.2 million Australian workers so far.

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