Australia’s parental leave system needs reform

Many DCA members are leading the way when it comes to parental leave and our goal is to support our members to implement leading practice parental leave schemes. However, we also believe that the government-funded scheme needs reform. While progress is being made in terms of the number of organisations offering employer-paid parental leave, many Australian parents still miss out. Many working parents only have access to the government-funded scheme or have no access to parental leave at all. Further, Australia’s government-funded paid parental leave scheme has been named one of the least generous in the OECD.1

DCA believes that the government should support a government-funded parental leave scheme that:

  • Is flexible
  • Is gender-neutral
  • Promotes shared care, i.e. it does not distinguish between ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carers
  • Encourages shared care through ‘use it or lose it’ provisions to encourage men to take leave instead of transferring it to their partner
  • Attracts the superannuation guarantee.

We would also like to see this supported by a commitment to break down the stigma and encourages men to take more parental leave.  

These reforms must be backed up by high quality, accessible and affordable childcare that further enables women to participate in the workforce and thrive at work.  

Other organisations calling for reform to parental leave include: