CareerMums welcomes the news that the Federal Government will introduce paid parental leave in January 2011. It is a social and economic benefit for mothers and their families. It is an important step in the recognition of women, their families, their career and their critical contribution to the Australian workforce.
Another major barrier to parents returning to work is the cost of care. The Government now offers a 50% rebate on care costs and is not means tested. This has assisted some families but the cost of care continues to be too high to justify skilled parents returning to work. The problem is that Australian child care is predominantly owned by the private sector (70-80%) so the Government has no control on pricing. As the cost of child care increases over the next few years, the 50% child care rebate will become redundant as the increase in the cost of care outruns wage and salary increases.
An interesting challenge for the Federal Government, particularly as women now account for around 50% of the labour force.