20 June 2010

Paid Parental Leave - a major win for Australian families

The recent passing of legislation for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme has been described by Federal Families Minister, Jenny Macklin MP (pictured), as an ‘historic and a major win for Australian families’.

Australian families had waited decades for paid parental leave. However, due to the efforts of a federal Labor Government, from 1 January 2011 the wait is finally over.

The government-funded Paid Parental Leave scheme will now give thousands of new mothers the financial support to make their own choices about work and family responsibilities when their baby is born.

Parents will get more support to stay home with a new baby, and children will now be able to get the best start in life. Another benefit is that Australian businesses will also be able to retain more skilled workers.

Casual and part-time workers, contractors and the self-employed will be eligible for Paid Parental Leave, many for the very first time.

The Government's scheme provides up to 18 weeks’ Government-funded parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently $570 per week) for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011.

The scheme is based closely on the expert recommendations of the Productivity Commission.

The Government’s scheme should be provided in addition to existing efforts on employer-funded paid parental leave schemes. This is expected to help local employers enhance the family-friendly workplace conditions many already offer.

“This is a great victory for the many Australians who have campaigned over the years for a national Paid Parental Leave scheme”, Ms Macklin stated.

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