The current paid parental leave scheme underpays and undervalues parents by treating paid parental leave as one-size-fits-all welfare payment, not a workplace right. As working women face increasing pressure, a more caring paid parental leave scheme will give families a better start.
The Government’s existing paid parental leave scheme scrapes together a bare minimum for working parents, while the Coalition’s promised scheme is overly generous and unrealistic.
The Greens are standing up for Australian families by proposing a responsible and achievable 6 month scheme, which links paid parental leave to earnings and reflects parents’ fair entitlements when they take time off work to care for a growing family.
The Greens know how important it is to get paid parental leave right. It is the critical foundation for a child's earliest development while respecting and encouraging women’s participation in the workforce. We are proposing a more generous paid parental leave scheme that cares for Australian families and promotes productivity and work-life balance.
The Australian Greens’ paid parental leave (PPL) scheme:
It’s time for a major overhaul of paid parental leave so that Australia’s paid parental leave scheme genuinely reflects the value and entitlements of working parents, as well as the importance of work-life balance in our society and economy.
Under the government’s existing scheme, paid parental leave is universally set at the National Minimum Wage of $622 per week.i For the primary carer, that’s a payment of approximately $11,000 over 18 weeks. Around 70% of employed women already earn more than this, particularly full-time workers, so the majority of women still take a significant pay cut to spend the valuable first few months with their new children.ii
The Greens’ scheme pegs paid parental leave to the salary of each parent to a cap of $100,000 per annum, and with a safety net floor of the National Minimum Wage, to be paid for 6 months (or 26 weeks). That means over the 6 months the paid parental leave for the primary carer will be between $16,170 and $50,000 based on their salary, plus any additional support provided by their employers.
As noted by the Productivity Commission, a well-crafted paid parental leave scheme delivers long run productivity benefits, increases women’s lifetime workforce participation and better reflects the fair entitlements of employees.iii Families with new babies will have a chance to bond and support each other from the earliest moment, with the additional dad and partner leave able to be used simultaneously or separately with the maternal leave.
Australia should be moving towards a paid parental leave scheme that matches the best in the world. The Greens' proposal is an important step on that path.