Super on paid parental leave

Read about how you can stay on track for a great retirement when you start or grow your family.

Growing your family is exciting, but taking time out of the workforce to raise children can have an impact on your financial future.

Did you know superannuation isn’t always paid when you take time off to care for a child? It’s important to be across the current rules and how they may change, so you can keep on track for a great retirement.  

Types of paid parental leave 

Paid parental leave (also referred to as maternity or paternity leave) falls into two categories: government-funded paid parental leave, or employer-funded paid parental leave. If eligible, you could receive both types.  

Government-funded paid parental leave 

You’re generally eligible for government-funded parental leave if you have a newborn or have recently adopted a child and you:

  • have met the income test
  • won’t be working during your paid parental leave period, except for allowable reasons 
  • have met the work test
  • have registered or applied to register your child’s birth with your state or territory birth registry if they’re a newborn.  

The Federal Government recently announced its intention to pay superannuation on paid parental leave, starting from 1 July 2025. If passed, families will also be afforded an extra six weeks of government-funded parental leave for a total of 26 weeks. UniSuper has joined the superannuation industry in strongly advocating for this change as an important step in securing women’s financial futures. It’s important to note that at the time of writing, this measure is an announcement only and not yet law.  

Head to the Services Australia website to read more about eligibility criteria.  

Employer-funded paid parental leave 

Many employers choose to support their employees with paid parental leave – which could include superannuation – though it’s not compulsory for them to do so. Generally, your employer sets out a minimum service period you'll need to meet before you're eligible for employer-funded parental leave, and the amount you receive – usually measured in weeks – varies from employer to employer.  

Individual employers will likely have their own policies when it comes to parental leave—available benefits could also be set out in your employment contract. If you’re not yet familiar with yours, consider meeting with a representative from the appropriate department(s) to get more information.  

You can read more about employer-funded parental leave at the Fair Work Ombudsman website.  

How parental leave impacts your super 

Short-term impacts during leave 

Superannuation isn’t always paid on parental leave, so you may not receive employer contributions during this time. Without these contributions, you likely won’t see your balance grow quickly in the short term.  

Long-term impacts for retirement 

A smaller balance in the short term could also mean your savings aren’t earning greater investment returns over the long term. This could mean you have less superannuation once you reach retirement and may need to rely more on government assistance, like the Age Pension

How it affects the gender super gap 

Women are generally more likely than men to take parental leave—the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) found that women account for 88% of all primary carer’s leave utilised. This means women are more likely to feel the impacts of paid parental leave on their super, and may retire with less than their male counterparts.  

How to manage your super before, during and after parental leave 

Before taking leave 

Financial advice can be a great way to run a health check of your superannuation and identify how you can manage your balance before, during and after leave. Our super consultants can provide general advice on a range of topics at no extra cost in-person or over the phone.  

Consider reviewing your investment strategy. As your situation changes, so too could your needs and risk appetite, and having the right strategy in place ahead of parental leave could have an impact on your retirement savings later. We offer a range of investment options for members with different investment needs. Learn about our investment options,  risk and returns and how to make an investment choice. 

You could also review your insurance cover to ensure it meets your needs, which will likely be changing as you grow your family. Doing this may also help ensure you’re not paying premiums out of your superannuation for cover you may not need.  

During leave 

Though your superannuation may not be front of mind while on parental leave, it’s a good idea to regularly monitor your super account.  

One way of making up for missed employer contributions while on parental leave is to make personal after-tax (non-concessional) contributions. This involves contributing to your superannuation from your savings if you have the means to do so and if you’re eligible. Making an after-tax contribution is as simple as using BPAY, either as one-off or to set up regular contributions, and can have long-term benefits for your retirement savings. You could even consider making a personal contribution before going on leave. In making personal contributions, you may also be eligible for the Government co-contribution.  

If you have super elsewhere, consider bringing it all together at UniSuper. Consolidating all your super in one place is one of the simplest steps you can take to avoid paying unnecessary fees brought about by having multiple superannuation accounts, and could leave you with more retirement savings. Log in to your online account at to try our Consolidate your super tool.  

If you’re not working but you have a partner who is, you could consider splitting their before-tax (concessional) superannuation contributions so a portion goes to your balance. You and your partner could also consider after-tax spouse contributions, which means they contribute to your balance. A tax offset of $540 each financial year is also available if your partner meets the eligibility criteria.  

After returning to work 

You could consider making the most of what’s known as ‘carry forward’ rules. If eligible, you can ‘carry forward’ unused portions of your before-tax contribution cap over a rolling five-year period. 

You may also be able to ‘bring forward’ up to three years of after-tax contributions. The amount you can bring forward depends on your total super balance at 30 June of the previous financial year. Learn more about these rules for super contribution caps and the eligibility criteria.  

Salary sacrificing is a great way to grow your superannuation balance after parental leave. You can talk to your employer to set up a salary sacrificing arrangement—they’ll then deduct a sum of your choosing from your pre-tax income and put it towards your superannuation, on top of your regular employer contributions. It’s important to first consider your circumstances before setting up a salary sacrificing arrangement.  

We know growing your family can be an exciting but stressful time, and super isn't always front of mind. If you'd like some help from a professional to get your super sorted, visit

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