Australian Paid Parental Leave Might Be Getting Extended From Four to 12 Months

Hey, do you know who’s better company than the Karen in your office? Your baby. Sure, they scream, cry, and are getting used to the fact that they now exist in this mortal realm, but at least they can’t steal your pens without asking.

On a related note, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians is calling on the Federal Government to extend the amount of paid parental leave one can take. They want it to be 12 months long. But not because these folks want to spend less time with a frustrating coworker of theirs. Instead, doing so would be beneficial all mums, dads, enby parents, and their newborn children. They stated, “The evidence shows that exclusive parental care fosters improved maternal and child health with improved developmental outcomes for the child.”

What Are the Current Parental Leave Entitlements?

As per the Fair Work Ombudsman, eligible primary carers for either a newborn or newly adopted child can get up to 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay. This is a far cry from 12 months. Parental Leave Pay is also provided at the National Minimum Wage, which is currently $21.38 per hour. According to The Herald Sun, Australia has the second worst paid parental leave scheme out of all of the developed nations. 

Moreover, the rules are heaps worse for new dads and other primary partners. The Fair Work Ombudsman has stated, “Eligible working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) get 2 weeks leave paid at the National Minimum Wage. These payments are made directly to the employee by the Australian Government.”

Related: NSW Will Give $2,000 Cash Back to Those Undergoing IVF Treatments

Related: These Are the Best Countries for Parental Leave and Family Financial Support

Will the Federal Government Actually Do Something Parental Leave Entitlements? 

Hopefully! On June 27, the latest Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, told The Australian that she was open to the idea of the partner pay scheme being 20 weeks long. “Society has changed,” Rishworth said. “A lot more men do want to play a role. And a lot of men do say they want to be the primary caregiver for some period of time.”

It’s worth noting that if this happens, a partner will be able to spend two more weeks with their newborn than the primary caregiver. This just wouldn’t make sense. If this alteration were to happen, it would be only logical for the government to make some other much-needed changes to the system. If we keep the pressure up, there’s a chance one of these changes will be 12 months worth of paid parental leave for every single primary caregiver.

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