Australia is falling behind OECD countries when it comes to Paid Parental Leave

As Australia’s leading organisation supporting premature and sick newborns, their families, and the hospitals that care for them, Miracle Babies Foundation is continuing to elevate the conversation around the long recognised gap in the paid parental support for these families with the current Paid Parental Leave Scheme. 

Sadly, sometimes when a baby spends time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery, a parent’s entire paid leave entitlement can be exhausted before the baby even comes home from the hospital. 

Miracle Babies Foundation is continuing to advocate for greater support for families who have had a baby born premature or sick, requesting that a change be made in the Australian Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme to allow for additional entitlements for babies who spend 2 or more weeks in specialised care as a newborn.

We need your help. Share your story.

If you had a baby spend time in the NICU or Special Care Nursery, we need your help. How were you impacted by the current Paid Parental Leave Scheme? Share your story with us so that we can continue to lobby the Australian Government to achieve important change for families in the future. 

Every year in Australia more than 48,000 newborn babies require the help of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN). Caring for these babies creates added pressure on families’ emotions, time, and finances. Parents of premature babies often find themselves needing to leave work unexpectedly and much earlier than anticipated, and the weeks and months following their baby’s birth can be a traumatic and emotional journey.

In Australia, current parental leave allows employees to take time away from work for the birth of their children. Eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn currently receive up to 18 weeks' paid parental leave at the national minimum wage. In addition to this, eligible working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) get two weeks leave paid at the national minimum wage (Reference: Fair Work Ombudsman - Parental Leave).  

However, for families with a baby who has spent most or all of this time in specialised hosptial care, important bonding time at home together is lost, the further separation can affect the parent’s mental health, and vulnerable babies who may already be facing ongoing health challenges may end up in care too early.

The emotional and also financial impact of having a baby born premature or sick is high. Research conducted by Miracle Babies Foundation found 83% of families surveyed experienced additional financial impacts on their family above the normal expected impact of having a newborn as a result of having a baby born requiring specialised hospital care. 


"Being able to be with your child while they are in NICU is a total necessity. If I had been in the position that I had to return to work after the Centrelink payments were up my daughter would have been equivalent to a 2 month old baby. There is nothing that is ok about a parent leaving a vulnerable baby at that age because of financial reasons. Health and emotional reasons are at the heart here." Miracle parent from the survey

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