Maternity and paternity leave is an important time for your family - it’s your opportunity to bond with your newborn baby. So it’s essential to find out just how much time you can realistically afford to take off work.

Planning for maternity or paternity leave

If you’re the primary care giver, you may be able to receive parental leave pay from the government for a maximum of 18 weeks at the national minimum wage. You can also split this leave with the child’s secondary carer, as long as only one of you receives it at a time.

To be eligible you must meet certain criteria. For example, you’ll generally need to have been employed for at least ten of the 13 months prior to the birth of your baby. You’ll also need to have earned less than $150,000 in the last financial year. Check if you're eligible.

If you’ve worked for your employer for at least 12 months, you should be entitled to take 12 months of unpaid leave. For more on this, head to fairwork.gov.au, opens in new window.

How much leave should you take?

Everyone's circumstances are different, and how much time you should take off can depend on a range of factors. These factors include, your savings, any debt you may have, your current income and your partners income too.

If you’d like to work out the financial impact of taking time off, a great place to start is ASIC’s parental leave calculator, opens in new window.

Other payments that could help

There are a number of government benefits you may be able to claim, including:

  • family tax benefit
  • parenting payment 
  • dad and partner pay (which is available to secondary carers of any gender). 

The Department of Human Services’ Payment finder, opens in new window can help you find and compare the payments you may be eligible for.

Planning for a reduced income

If you’re managing a mortgage on top of credit card and personal debt, it might be helpful to consolidate your debts into one. See NAB’s Debt Consolidation Calculator to see how this could affect your repayments.

You might want to start budgeting as if you only had one income. This will help you to start saving ahead of time and can help you get used to living on a reduced income.

Your super

Maternity leave is one reason women tend to have less super later in life. One expert tip is to start making extra contributions now – while you’re still working. You could also look into your partner making contributions on your behalf.

Useful resources for budgeting

For more information be sure to check out these tools and guides to help you with your budgeting and planning:

Use our budget planner to help you set up and stick to your budget as new parents.

Important information

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.