Changes to paid parental leave: bad for business, women and families

Media releases

Diversity Council Australia is disappointed that the Federal Government is persisting with the scaling back of Government funded paid parental leave as it is bad for business, women and families.

Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO, said the changes to paid parental leave will not assist women or their families and are a step backwards. 

“Any policy that reduces income to women and families during parental leave is a bad thing. It will put additional pressure on families and is likely to mean mothers will have to return to work earlier than they wanted to, reducing valuable time with their newborns."

“The World Health Organisation recommends 26 weeks of paid leave as the minimum standard for new parents to adequately bond with their newborn and establish breastfeeding – something that has long term societal benefits. And it was always intended that the current scheme’s 18 weeks’ paid leave at the minimum wage would be topped up by employer-funded schemes."

“Indeed other countries offer much more generous paid parental leave schemes." This includes the U.K. which provides 39 weeks (at 90% of mother’s average weekly earnings for at least 6 weeks, then capped at GBP £137 for remaining 33 weeks), Canada which provides 50 weeks (at 55% of average insured earnings) and Sweden which provides 60 weeks (at 80% of earnings for 47 weeks; remaining 13 weeks at SEK kr1260 a week).

“In addition, scaling back the scheme will only add to the wage gap that women experience as a result of having children."

“Employers are increasingly committed to providing paid parental leave; they see it as a vital tool to attract and retain talent. Any reduction in the amount of support for women and families from the Government-provided scheme will have a negative impact,” said Lisa.