LABOUR GOVERMENT ANNOUNCES A SIX WEEK INCREASE TO PAID PARENTAL LEAVEOctober 18, 2022
A recent decision has been made by the Albanese Government to increase the total package of federally-funded parental leave from the current 20 weeks to 26 weeks, giving more flexibility and leave for parents to stay at home with their families. It also allows parents to decide how PLP is split between the two. The new policy is the biggest change to the program since it was introduced in 2011.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Finance and Women Minister Katy Gallagher and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth announced in a statement, that Paid Parental Leave will increase to 22 weeks in July 2024, 25 weeks in July 2025 and reach the full 26 weeks by 2026.
The current Parental Leave entitlement allows parents or primary carers of a newborn or newly adopted child 18 weeks leave, paid at the National minimum wage, and two weeks of dad and partner pay.
The first PLP is a set 12 weeks and must be used within the first 12 months of a birth or adoption of a new child. The second period is Flexible Parental Leave, usually starts after the first PLP, it must be taken within 24 months of birth or adoption of a child. This second PLP allows parents to use up to 30 days in flexible periods provided both employer and employees are in agreeance on when and how it will be taken. They have to option to work reduced hours, change the pattern of work or take additional unpaid leave.
When addressing the new changes to come, the Government said the current format of “use it or lose it’’ leave will still apply to the new policy, encouraging parents (especially men) to take time off in the first few weeks of parenthood and share responsibilities. At present 95% of parental leave with pay is taken by mothers. Primary caregivers and same sex partners are given the same entitlements as heterosexual parents.
The Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, the body that provides independent advice to the Government on different issues regarding women in Australia, will investigate the most efficient way to split the 26 weeks and what mix of flexible weeks and ‘’use it or lose it’’ for each parent. Single parent households are entitled to access the full 26 week payment.
This new policy will provide flexibility, support and security for dads wanting to be at home with their families and more opportunity and choices for women wanting to return to work.