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.
CARING PARENTAL LEAVE
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:
- Provides 6 months of paid leave at 100% of the primary carer’s regular wage, capped at $100,000 per annum ($50K for the 6 months) which recognises paid parental leave should be a workplace entitlement, not a welfare payment.
- Includes superannuation contributions to ensure women are not disadvantaged later in life for taking parenting leave.
- Provides 2 additional weeks of leave to the secondary carer at 100% of their regular wage, capped at $100,000 per annum which means the second parent, often dads, will have secure and fairly remunerated time to bond with their new child.
- Funded by a 1.5% business levy on companies’ taxable incomes above $5 million, plus an achievable additional government contribution, of $1.9 billion over the forward estimates.
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE IS AN ENTITLEMENT FOR ALL
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.