I am in Victoria and my baby is due end of June 2019.
Is it better to take maternity pay from work at half or full pay?
My work pays 10 weeks full or 20 weeks half pay. I have accrued 5 weeks of annual leave.
I am only planning to be on maternity leave until there is no income.
Therefore I am considering: 5 weeks annual leave (ends July), 10 weeks full work paid mat leave (ends Sept), then Govt paid leave to start in the last 2 weeks of Sept lasting until end of Jan).
This is 7 months of maternity leave, I return to work in February 2020
Does this arrangement work out better, or would half work pay at 20 weeks, in tandem with Govt Pay at 18 weeks work out better tax wise?
The maternity leave at half pay or full pay wont make any difference to your tax, what will make the difference is the work you do at the end.
If you go back to work in February your income for the financial year July 2019 - June 2020 will be higher, which means you pay more tax (but you will also have more money). If instead you took it at half pay you'd likely return to work in mid April, your income for that financial year would be less so you pay less tax but also have less money.
In my personal opinion, I think you should take as much time off work as you can financially afford to. Your baby is only that small once, take all the time you possibly can to be with them, the 7 months will fly by. You can always go back to work later, if not your current job, something else.
All the best.