The Albanese government’s commitment to expand paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks represents overdue and welcome reform that will positively impact children, parents and families, according to The Parenthood.
The change, to be announced by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney on Saturday, means that by 2026 every family with a new baby will be able to access a total of 6 months paid leave, shared between parents. Single parents will be able to access all 26 weeks.
“For 11 years there’s been no meaningful change to the policy so increasing the entitlement from 18 to 26 weeks is a significant improvement,” Georgie Dent, Executive Director of The Parenthood said. “That the Prime Minister has specifically stated this is the baseline - a national minimum standard - is significant too. It represents a big step towards a more gender equal society where work and care can be more equitably shared.”
“Right now Australian families have access to one of the least adequate paid parental leave programs in the developed world,” Dent said. “Addressing this was one of the strongest points of consensus and one of the clearest calls for action from the Jobs and Skills Summit.”
“Paid parental leave impacts the start of a baby’s life, and sets up a pattern for caring that persists over the course of a child’s life. It’s one of the few policy tools available to governments to directly influence caring patterns among parents,” Dent said. “It is fantastic to see the Albanese government recognise the case for improving support for children and parents in Australia.”
“Extended paid parental leave will enhance gender equality through the redistribution of unpaid care and increase women’s workforce participation,” Dent said. “The benefits of paid parental leave are wide-spanning - for children, parents, government and the economy.”
Currently, Australia offers parental leave pay of up to 18 weeks and Dad and Partner Pay of up to 2 weeks at the minimum wage. The OECD average is more than 50 weeks of paid parental leave.