2.2.1 PLP Eligibility Overview

Primary claimant - core requirements

A person who is a birth mother or an initial primary carer adoptive parent may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP if:

  • they satisfy the work, income and residency tests, and
  • they are the primary carer of their newborn or recently adopted child, and
  • they satisfy the requirement to not return to work (i.e. they are on leave or not working) from the time they become their child's primary carer until the end of their PPL period, and
  • neither they nor their partner (or their former partner when they were a couple) has been paid PLP for the child.

These are the core requirements for all primary claimants. Exceptions and additions to these core requirements are explained below for primary claimants in particular circumstances.

Act reference: PPLAct section 21 Parental leave pay is already payable to the person etc., section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.2 PPL Scheme Work Test for PLP, 2.2.3 PPL Scheme Income Test for PLP, 2.2.4 PPL Scheme Australian Residency Test & Absences from Australia for PLP, 2.2.5 Who is a Primary Carer for PLP?, 2.2.13 Return to Work & When Paid Work is for a Permissible Purpose for PLP

Birth mother primary claimants - exceptions & additions to the core requirements

A birth mother whose child is stillborn or dies may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP if she meets the core primary claimant requirements above with the following exceptions:

  • she would meet the primary carer test except that her child was stillborn or had died, and
  • she is not required to be on leave or not working during her PPL period.

A birth mother who is unable to meet the work test due to a premature birth or pregnancy-related illness or complications, may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP if:

  • she meets the core primary claimant requirements above, and
  • Centrelink is satisfied that she would have met the work test but for the premature birth or pregnancy-related illness or complications.

A birth mother who relinquishes her child in a surrogacy or adoption arrangement, or a birth mother whose child was removed from her care by a state or territory child protection agency, may be an eligible primary claimant for PLP for the purpose of maternal recovery if she meets the core primary claimant requirements above. The following restriction and exemption apply:

  • PLP will only be payable in the first 18 weeks following the birth, and
  • if the child is stillborn or dies, the birth mother is not required to be on leave or not working during her PPL period.

Act reference: PPLAct section 11 The determination must specify the person's PPL period, section 14 Determination on primary and secondary claims made jointly-claimants sharing parental leave pay, section 15 Determination on primary and secondary claims made jointly-secondary claimant to get all the parental leave pay, section 16 Determination on a secondary claim made after the primary claim, section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 36A Premature birth or pregnancy-related complications or illness, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.3.1.1 When a primary claimant is eligible for parental leave pay

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.10 Who Is a Primary Claimant for PLP?, 2.2.2 PPL Scheme Work Test for PLP, 2.2.8 Person No Longer Primary Carer - PLP Remains Payable

General primary claimant exceptions & additions to the core requirements

A birth mother or an initial primary carer adoptive parent may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP if they satisfy the core primary claimant requirements with the following exceptions:

  • they would satisfy the primary carer test except that:
    • they are temporarily unable to care for their child, or
    • they have lost care of their child without their consent,
  • they are not required to meet the requirement not to return to work either temporarily or until the end of their PPL period because they:
    • have lost care of their child without their consent, or
    • are a defence force member or a law enforcement officer and they have been compulsorily recalled to duty.

Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.3.1.1 When a primary claimant is eligible for parental leave pay

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.8 Person No Longer Primary Carer - PLP Remains Payable

Primary claimant in exceptional circumstances - partner of the birth mother or initial primary carer adoptive parent, or the other parent or their partner

The partner of a birth mother, or the partner of an initial primary carer adoptive parent, or the child's other legal parent or their partner, may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP in exceptional circumstances if they meet the core primary claimant requirements above; and:

  • they have and are likely to continue to have care of the child for at least 26 weeks, and
  • they became or will become the primary carer of the child before the child's first birthday or before the first anniversary of the day of placement of the child for adoption, and
  • the birth mother or the initial primary carer adoptive parent is incapable or will be incapable or is likely to be incapable of caring for the child (1.1.I.05) for at least 26 weeks, or
  • Centrelink is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
    • the person became the primary carer of the child in special circumstances, and
    • it would be unreasonable for the birth mother or initial primary carer adoptive parent of the child to care for the child, and
    • it is in the interests of the child for the person to care for the child.

The partner of a birth mother, or the partner of an initial primary carer adoptive parent, or the child's other legal parent or their partner may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP if they satisfy the core primary claimant requirements with the following exceptions:

  • they would satisfy the primary carer test except that:
    • they are temporarily unable to care for the child, or
    • they have lost care of the child without their consent,
  • they are not required to meet the requirement not to return to work either temporarily or until the end of their PPL period because they:
    • have lost care of the child without their consent, or
    • are a defence force member or a law enforcement officer and they have been compulsorily recalled to duty.

Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.4.1.1 Exceptional circumstances for primary claims

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.10 Who Is a Primary Claimant for PLP?

Primary claimant in exceptional circumstances - no specified relationship with the child

Any person who is not the birth mother or the initial primary carer adoptive parent, or the child's other legal parent or their partner, may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP in exceptional circumstances if they meet the core primary claimant requirements above; and:

  • they have and are likely to have care of the child for at least 26 weeks, and
  • they became or will become the primary carer of the child before the child's first birthday or before the first anniversary of the day of placement of the child for adoption; and:
    • the birth mother or adoptive parent of the child is incapable of caring for the child and will be incapable or is likely to be incapable of caring for the child for at least 26 weeks, or
    • Centrelink is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
      • the person became the primary carer of the child in special circumstances, and
      • it would be unreasonable for the birth mother or adoptive parent of the child to care for the child, and
      • it is in the interests of the child for the person to care for the child, and
  • the following apply:
    • the partner of the birth mother or the partner of the adoptive child is incapable of caring for the child,
    • the child was not entrusted to the care of the person or the care of the person's partner under state or territory child protection legislation,
    • Centrelink is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
      • the person became the primary carer of the child in special circumstances, and
      • it would be unreasonable for the birth mother or initial primary carer adoptive parent of the child to care for the child, and
      • it is in the interests for the person to care for the child.

Any person who has no specified relationship to the child may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP in exceptional circumstances if they satisfy the core primary claimant requirements with the following exceptions:

  • they would satisfy the primary carer test except that:
    • they are temporarily unable to care for the child, or
    • they have lost care of the child without their consent,
  • they are not required to meet the requirement not to return to work either temporarily or until the end of their PPL period because they:
    • have lost care of the child without their consent, or
    • are a defence force member or a law enforcement officer and they have been compulsorily recalled to duty.

Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.4.1.1 Exceptional circumstances for primary claims

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.10 Who Is a Primary Claimant for PLP?

Primary claimant in exceptional circumstances - surrogacy arrangements

A person who is the primary carer of a child born in a surrogacy arrangement may be eligible as a primary claimant for PLP in exceptional circumstances if they meet the core primary claimant requirements above and:

  • have care of, and are likely to continue to have care of the child for at least 26 weeks, and
  • became the child's primary carer before the child's first birthday, and
  • it is in the interests of the child for the person to have care of the child.

In considering what is in the best interest of the child, Centrelink needs to consider:

  • whether the person intends to be the long term primary carer of the child, and
  • whether the birth mother has relinquished care of the child, and
  • any other matters relevant in considering what is in the interests of the child.

Note: This requirement applies to every primary carer of a child who is born in a surrogacy arrangement who is a primary claimant for PLP.

Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.4.1.1 Exceptional circumstances for primary claims

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.10 Who Is a Primary Claimant for PLP?

Secondary claimant

A person may be eligible as a secondary claimant for PLP if the primary claimant has not taken some or all of their PLP and the secondary claimant becomes the primary carer of the child and is otherwise entitled to receive the unused PLP, and they claim the unused PLP.

Secondary claimant in normal circumstances

A person who is the partner of the primary claimant or who is the child's other legal parent or their partner, may be eligible as a secondary claimant for PLP in normal circumstances if:

  • they satisfy the work, income and residency tests, and
  • they became the primary carer of the child before the end of the primary claimant's PPL period, and
  • they have not returned to work between becoming the child's primary carer and the end of their PPL period, and
  • their partner has not received PLP for the child (other than as a primary claimant to which the person's secondary claim relates), and
  • a former partner was not paid PLP for the child when her or she was the persons partner (other than as a primary claimant to which the person's secondary claim relates).

The following exceptions may apply to the above secondary claimant in normal circumstances requirements:

  • they would be the primary carer of the child except that:
    • they are temporarily unable to care for the child, or
    • they have lost care of the child without consent, and
  • they are not required to meet the requirement not to return to work before the end of their PPL period if they:
    • have lost care of the child without consent, or
    • are a defence force member or a law enforcement officer and they have been compulsorily recalled to duty.

Act reference: PPLAct section 21 Parental leave pay is already payable to the person etc., section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.3.1.2 When a secondary claimant is eligible for parental leave pay

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.11 Who Is a Secondary Claimant for PLP?

Secondary claimant in exceptional circumstances

Any person, including the partner of the birth mother or the partner of the initial primary carer adoptive parent, may be eligible as a secondary claimant for PLP in exceptional circumstances if they:

  • satisfy the residency test, and
  • become the primary carer of the child before the end of the primary claimant's PPL period, and
  • have not returned to work between becoming the primary carer of the child and the end of their PPL, and
  • they have and are likely to continue to have care of the child for at least 26 weeks, and
  • the child was not entrusted to the care of the person or the care of the person's partner under state or territory child protection legislation,
  • if the person is the partner of the primary claimant for the child, the primary claimant is incapable of caring for the child and will be incapable or is likely to be incapable of caring for the child for at least 26 weeks,
  • if the person is not the partner of the primary claimant for the child, any of the following apply:
    • the primary claimant and the primary claimant's partner are incapable of caring for the child and are likely to be incapable for at least 26 weeks,
    • Centrelink is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
      • the person became the primary carer of the child in special circumstances, and
      • it would be unreasonable for the primary claimant or the primary claimant's partner to care for the child, and
      • it is in the interests of the child for the person to care for the child.

The following exceptions may apply to the above secondary claimant in exceptional circumstances requirements:

  • they would be the primary carer of the child except that:
    • they are temporarily unable to care for the child, or
    • they have lost care of the child without their consent, and
  • they are not required to meet the requirement not to return to work before the end of their PPL period if they:
    • have lost care of the child without their consent, or
    • are a defence force member or a law enforcement officer and they have been compulsorily recalled to duty, or
    • worked immediately after the change in care occurred while care arrangements were being settled.

Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim

PPL Rules Subdivision 2.3.1.2 When a secondary claimant is eligible for parental leave pay, Subdivision 2.4.1.2 Exceptional circumstances for secondary claims

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.11 Who Is a Secondary Claimant for PLP?

Tertiary claimant in exceptional circumstances

A person may be eligible as a tertiary claimant for PLP if they:

  • satisfy the residency test, and
  • are the primary carer of the child, and
  • have not returned to work between becoming the child's primary carer and the end of their PPL period, and
  • they have and are likely to continue to have care of the child for at least 26 weeks, and
  • the child was not entrusted to the care of the person or of the person's partner under state or territory child protection legislation, and
  • if the person had previously been the primary claimant for the child, either:
    • the secondary claimant had care of the child in exceptional circumstances and those circumstances have ceased to apply, or
    • the secondary claimant is incapable of caring for the child and is likely to be incapable of caring for the child for at least 26 weeks, and
  • if the person has not previously been the claimant for the child, any of the following apply:
    • the primary claimant and secondary claimant are incapable of caring for the child and are likely to be incapable for at least 26 weeks,
    • Centrelink is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
      • the person became the primary carer of the child in special circumstances, and
      • it would be unreasonable for the birth mother or adoptive parent of the child to care for the child, and
      • it is in the interests of the child for the person to care for the child.

The following exceptions may apply to the above tertiary claimant in exceptional circumstances requirements:

  • they would be the primary carer of the child except that:
    • they are temporarily unable to care for the child, or
    • they have lost care of the child without their consent, and
  • they are not required to meet the requirement not to return to work before the end of their PPL period if they:
    • have lost care of the child without their consent, or
    • are a defence force member or a law enforcement officer and they have been compulsorily recalled to duty, or
    • worked immediately after the change in care occurred while care arrangements were being settled.

Note 1: An eligible adoptive parent or a commissioning parent in a surrogacy may receive the full 18 weeks of PLP even where PLP is being paid or has already been paid to another eligible person (for example, the birth mother).

Note 2: An eligible person who takes on care of a child in exceptional circumstances in the first year following birth or placement may receive the full 18 weeks of PLP even if PLP has been paid to another person another person (for example, the birth mother).

Note 3: PLP must be received in one continuous 18 week period, including when it is transferred from the primary claimant to the secondary claimant (the child's new primary carer). The payment cannot be shared between 2 primary carers concurrently.

Note 4: Claimants can receive PLP concurrently with paid leave (e.g. recreation leave, employer provided PPL) and unpaid parental leave.

Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim, Part 2-3 Eligibility for parental leave pay, Part 2-4 Claims for parental leave pay

PPL Rules Part 2-3 Eligibility for parental leave pay, Subdivision 2.3.1.3 When a person is eligible for parental leave pay - tertiary claimant, Part 2-4 Claims for parental leave pay, Subdivision 2.4.1.3 Exceptional circumstances for tertiary claims

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2 PLP Eligibility, 2.2.12 Who Is a Tertiary Claimant for PLP?

Last reviewed: 1 July 2016