Paid Parental Leave – Another reason to celebrate on International Women’s Day
Around 250,000 working parents have benefitted from Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme introduced by this Federal Labor Government in 2011.
New evaluation findings released today on how the scheme has been implemented shows that most parents and employers have had a positive experience with Paid Parental Leave.
Almost all mums who took government-funded paid parental leave combined it with other paid and unpaid leave available from their jobs in a range of ways to best suit their needs.
The evaluation found around 85 per cent of mothers applied for Parental Leave Pay online and most found the process user-friendly.
Employers also reported a positive response to the scheme with around 80 per cent saying it was easy to organise payments, regardless of their business size.
More than 80 per cent of employers agreed finding information about the scheme was easy, and around 90 per cent found the information provided by the Government was helpful.
Importantly, employers reported that the cost to their business was minimal.
The Labor Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is making a real difference for working mums who need support the most.
The scheme means that many new mothers, including casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers, have access to time off work with pay for the first time.
In contrast, Tony Abbott’s proposed paid parental leave scheme would give high-flying lawyers and bank executives $75,000 to have a baby, at the expense of ordinary women.
Prior to the Labor Government’s scheme only around 50 per cent of working women had access to employer funded paid parental leave. Now, around 95 per cent of working women have access to paid leave.
The evaluation findings released today provide important information about how the Paid Parental Leave scheme is working in practice.
The Government has already taken a number of steps to improve the delivery of the scheme since it began including improving the application process and how quickly parents receive their payments. These include Centrelink prioritising Paid Parental Leave claims, streamlining proof of birth processes, and improving communications to parents and employers.
We have also started a review of the scheme, which is required under the legislation.
The review will look at the amount of time taken off work by mothers after the birth of a baby, the availability and amount of leave and payments provided by employers, the operation of the scheme’s work test, and assistance for the partners of primary carers.
It will also look at the design of the scheme and consider the role of employers, including how employers have responded to the scheme, and whether the scheme should include superannuation.
Starting today, a public submissions process will run until 31 May 2013.
A steering group has been set up to oversee the review, including employee groups, employer groups, women’s and community groups, the Human Rights Commission, independent academic researchers and relevant Government departments.
The findings of the review will be provided to the Minister for Families by the end of 2013.
To view the Phase 2 evaluation findings released today, got to www.fahcsia.gov.au/pplevaluation
To view the review’s Terms of Reference and discussion paper, and find out about how to make a submission, please visit the review webpage at www.fahcsia.gov.au/pplreview