The Greens welcome the joint agreement of business groups and unions, and support the ACTU and Business Council of Australia in urging the government to expand paid parental leave to 26 weeks.
The Greens’ PPL plan called for 26 weeks with payments that match salaries up to $100k pa, super paid on leave, and ‘use it or lose it’ incentives built in to encourage shared parenting, and we’re glad to see these groups coming onboard.
Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters
“The Labor government knows that we need a fairer paid parental leave scheme. They have made the right noises in the past, but have no current plans to extend leave, increase payments, add superannuation, or incentivi\se shared care. If they are genuine about increasing women’s workforce participation and closing the gender pay gap, we need action on this now.
“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.
“The current system allows parents to share parental leave, yet only 1 in 20 dads takes more than two weeks. “Use it or lose it” provisions create real incentives for both parents to take leave. We know that it works because when countries like Sweden and Iceland introduced “use it or lose it” they saw a huge jump in shared care and that has been sustained for more than a decade.
“Childcare is still not free, care work is still undervalued, and the minimum wage and income support payments, which more women than men receive, are still too low.
“The Greens’ plan 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.