Australia Expands Paid Parental Leave To Six Months

Australia is set to expand its paid parental leave scheme, allowing new parents to share up to six months of paid leave. 

New laws introduced to parliament on Thursday will allow families to access 26 weeks of paid parental leave by 2026.

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Under the existing framework, families already have access to 20 weeks of paid leave, but the proposed changes will see this period increase by two weeks each year, beginning in July 2024, until the extended 26-week rate is achieved by 2026. 

These changes herald a more generous approach to parental support, providing additional flexibility for parents in caring for their newborns.

Women’s Minister Katy Gallagher said the changes focus on shared parental responsibility as the extended 26 weeks can be shared by both parents.

The modifications also introduce the concept of four weeks of reserved leave for each parent. 

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“We know that good women’s policy is also good economic policy, and this investment will promote parenting as an equal partnership while boosting the economy,” Senator Gallagher said. 

“This is all about making sure that every family has more choice and better support.”

The expansion of paid parental leave to six months was initially proposed in last year’s federal budget and aligns with the government’s commitment to fostering equal parenthood and economic growth.

The expanded scheme is expected to require an investment of $1.2 billion between 2022/23 and 2026/27. 

These changes are estimated to benefit over 180,000 families annually.

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