The Parenthood backs Independents’ motion to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks & bring forward childcare relief
The Parenthood welcomes a motion to be introduced in the House of Representatives by the Independent Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall, calling on the government to expand paid parental leave and bring forward the starting date for the ‘Cheaper Childcare’ changes.
The motion, seconded by the Independent Member for Wentworth, Allegra Spender, notes consensus at the Jobs and Skills Summit that improving paid parental leave and childcare are essential to improving women’s workforce participation.
To enjoy the significant economic benefit from increasing female workforce participation, gender equity and outcomes for children the motion calls on the government to:
a) Provide for at least 26 weeks of paid parental leave with a use it or lose it
provision to incentivise shared use of leave where there are two carers;
b) Set 1 January 2023 as the start date for lower the cost of early childhood
education for all families; and
c) Improve access to paid carers’ leave for parents of sick children.
“These changes would help bring Australia into line with OECD nations in the provision of best practice evidence-based policies that support children and parents,” Executive Director of The Parenthood Georgie Dent said.
“Expanding paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks, with a component that is only available when parents share the care, would be transformative.
“Aussie dads take less than 20% of the paternity leave days dads take globally,” Dent said.
“Caring patterns set in the first year of a child’s life persist so supporting parents to share the care early leads to more equitable division of unpaid and paid work.
“Among OECD nations, Australia has one of the least adequate paid parental leave schemes with just 20 weeks offered at the minimum wage. In the OECD the average length of paid leave available is more than 50 weeks,” said Dent.
“Inadequate paid parental leave and prohibitively expensive early childhood education and care puts mums and dads on very different paths, despite the fact that women in Australia are among the best educated in the world,” Dent said.
“Better parenting policies that enable women to participate in paid work more consistently after having children would lead to the average Australian woman earning an additional $696,000 over her working life; and retire with an additional $180,000 in superannuation.”