The Commission proposes the introduction of a taxpayer funded paid parental leave scheme that would:
- provide paid postnatal leave for a total of 18 weeks that can be shared by eligible parents, with an additional 2 weeks of paternity leave reserved for the father (or same sex partner).
- Provide the adult minimum wage (currently $543.78) for each week of leave for most eligible employees.
All employees with a reasonable degree of attachment to the labour force (average of 10 hours per week or more and continuous employment for 12 months prior to date of expected birth) would be eligible, including the self employed, contractors and casual employees.
Non eligible parents would be entitled to the equivalent of the baby bonus.
This is a huge step in the right direction. It will take Australia years to catch up with other OECD nations, but this is a welcome start.
The Federal Government will need to properly review the Productivity Commission's findings on businesses paying superannuation and funding paid parental leave upfront before being reimbursed. There are potental concerns that this may create further discrimination in terms of hiring women in general and hiring mothers who may decide to have more children.
For more information, go to: http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/parentalsupport/draft