Progressing paid parental leave - GIWL Submission to the Standing Committee on Community Affairs

Author/editor: Glennie, M
Published in (Monograph or Journal): Submission to the Standing Committee on Community Affairs
Year published: 2023


We accept the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender
Equality) Bill 2022 as the first stage in the implementation of the October 2022-23 Federal
budget commitments for parental leave and support the Amendment Bill. All core
amendments are evidence backed and will support improvement in social and economic
outcomes for Australian families. Research confirms the benefits of shared paid parental
leave arrangements (Lárusdóttir et al 2022; Banister 2022), and the expansion of paid
parental leave to 26 weeks will bring Australia closer in line with international leading
practice (European Parliament 2020).

We recommend the Amendment Bill be accepted in its entirety, with minor adjustments to
wording to remove gender binary language, which will not change the essence of the
amendment or amended eligibility to entitlements, both of which are already gender
inclusive. In particular, we recommend removing gender binary language, including to the
stated objectives of the Act (3A.2b) from “promote equality between men and women” to
“promote equality between all genders”. This adjustment will further support the aim for
gender inclusiveness expressed by the Minister (first reading speech to Parliament).

As future amendments are developed to implement October 2022-23 Federal budget
commitments, we propose considering options for implementing an accelerated pathway to
26 weeks paid parental leave for low income earners before implementing the full increase
to family income threshold. Both parents and children in households with low income and
precarious parental employment are particularly at risk of adverse economic consequences
stemming from interruptions to employment; these circumstances warrant particularly
urgent attention.

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