DCA has made a submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs in response to the Inquiry into the provisions of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill 2022.
We welcome the changes proposed in the bill and commend the government’s efforts in taking action in this area.
Specifically, DCA supports:
- the extension from 18 weeks to 20 weeks, and the implementation of a two-week “use it or lose it” portion.
- the government’s announcement that parental leave pay will increase to 26 weeks total by 2026.
- the change to enable single parents access to the full 20 weeks.
- the removal of Dad and partner pay.
- the removal of ‘primary’, ‘secondary’ and ‘tertiary’, designations and supports a shared care, gender-neutral approach to parental leave.
- allowing claimants to take the payment in multiple blocks, as small as a day at a time, within two years of the birth or adoption.
- removing the requirement to not return to work.
- the introduction of a $350,000 family income limit.
- expanding eligibility to allow an eligible father or partner to receive parental leave pay regardless of whether the birth parent meets the income test, residency requirements or is serving a newly arrived resident’s waiting period.
DCA also made the following recommendations:
- As the total length of leave increases, the length of “use it or lose it” leave should be increased to encourage more fathers to take more leave.
- The government should consider bonus leave if both partners use their “use it or lose it” leave.
- Commonwealth parental leave pay should attract the superannuation guarantee.
- That parental leave reform is backed up by initiatives to break down the stigma and encourage men to take more parental leave.