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Australian Greens to introduce Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill

Media Release
Larissa Waters 19 Sep 2022

The Greens will introduce the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill to deliver 26 weeks of paid leave paid at replacement wage capped, with super paid on leave, and ‘use it or lose it’ incentives for partners to encourage shared parenting.

Lines attributable to Greens leader in the senate and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters 

“Fairer paid parental leave is a no-brainer that benefits everyone - parents, children and the economy. And if we scrap the Stage 3 tax cuts, we can easily afford it.

“The Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill will reduce the amount of time women are missing a pay cheque and provide families with more incentives, and more support, to share caring responsibilities more fairly.

“Australia has one of the weakest parental leave schemes in the developed world, especially for fathers. There was unanimous support from the Jobs and Skills Summit participants for that to change.
“If the government is serious about increasing women’s workforce participation, it needs to do more than to nod sagely while a panel of expert women says these things. Labor needs to actually act.
“The current parental leave scheme tends to lock mums into the role of primary carer and the loss of work opportunities that comes with it. We need to do much more to encourage both parents to share the parenting load, and to normalise working arrangements that help families juggle work and caring responsibilities. 

“We know from the experience in other countries that more equitable parental leave, coupled with free childcare, has a significant impact on women’s workforce participation. It also helps to shape long term sharing of childcare and unpaid household tasks.

“Use it or lose it” provisions in Scandinavian countries saw a huge jump in the number of dads taking leave and that fairer sharing of care has been sustained for more than a decade.  

Lines attributable to Senator Barbara Pocock, Greens spokesperson on Employment

“I heard unanimous support for fairer paid parental leave at the Jobs and Skills Summit.The Greens are turning talk into action, giving notice of the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill to increase Paid Parental leave by six weeks, to 26 weeks, with salaries matched up to $100k p.a., superannuation and incentives for parents to share care.

“As Chair of the Parliament’s first Senate Select Committee on Work and Care I know that the evidence on paid parental leave is overwhelming: we need it, and we need more of it. As an economist I know that without kids - and the care put into raising them - there is no economy. It is that simple. 

“Having children is hard labour and it should be recognised with decent recovery time and paid leave. It has been known for more than a century that economies benefiting from women’s work should ensure recovery and bonding time when they have a baby.’

“Australia came late to paid parental leave in 2011. And, with no significant improvements since, we have fallen behind the international standard again now. The world has moved on: It is time to play catch up and make sure new parents get the support they need.

“It’s time we recognised women’s role in our economy. Talking about women and equality is not enough, we must act. 

“It helps both women and the economy because paid leave gives women a greater connection to the workplace. That’s what we need in this time of skill shortages.

“Decent paid parental leave is a cornerstone of a good work and care system. At the moment we are lagging: it’s time to catch up. 

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