Australian Senate Approves Six Months Of Paid Parental Leave

The changes are designed for Australian parents to share the care.
Paid parental leave will be six months.Getty

The Senate has approved the Labor government’s expansion of paid parental leave to 26 weeks, meaning that the change will become law.

Under the current program, couples with a newborn or newly adopted child have access to 20 weeks of paid parental leave at the national minimum wage.

From 1 July 2024, couples will have access to an extra two weeks of leave—bringing the total up to 22 weeks. This number will increase in July 2025 to 24 weeks and then finally to 26 weeks in July 2026.

However, these additional weeks are not allowed to be used by just one parent. The changes are designed to encourage dads and non-primary parents to take more leave and a more significant role in their child’s early months.

This means that the additional weeks will be offered to the second parent under a use-it-or-lose-it-scheme.

Paid parental leave expands to six months.
(Credit: Getty )

“This normalises paid parental leave as a workplace entitlement which is good for workplace retention and fosters gender-equitable workplaces,” Senator Malarndirri McCarthy told parliament on the 18th March, 2024.

Along with the change, the government also promised $10 million to support small businesses implementing parental leave through their own pay roles.

These changes come not long after the government revealed it’s decision to include superannuation payments in the government-funded paid parental leave scheme.

Under the new plan, superannuation will be paid at 12 per cent of the paid parental leave rate, which is currently based on the national minimum wage of $882.75 per week.

Including superannuation on top of maternity leave was a key recommendation of Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce and is a significant step towards closing the gender super gap.

With these additional changes approved by the senate, women are another step closer to accessing better financial and career outcomes in Australia—and that’s something to celebrate.

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