Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Gillard Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme benefits working mums

A new report shows that the Gillard Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is making a real difference for mothers, particularly those who need financial help the most.

The Baseline Mothers Survey surveyed more than 2,500 mothers across the country to assess their situation before the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme began.

It found that only about half of working women had access to paid maternity leave before the Government introduced our Paid Parental Leave scheme. Now, 95 per cent of working women have access to paid parental leave – either from the Government or their employer or both.

Almost all (94 per cent) of those women who didn’t have access to paid parental leave before – particularly casual workers, the self-employed and those working in smaller businesses – are now eligible for the Government’s scheme.

Since the Government’s scheme began on 1 January 2011, half of the mothers who have received Paid Parental Leave earned less than $43,700 in the year before their baby was born.

The survey found that concerns over financial pressures in the household were a key factor in women’s return to work, with 59 per cent of mothers saying they returned to work earlier than they would have liked because of financial stresses.

That’s why the Labor Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme has been so important for these working mums.

In contrast, Tony Abbott wants to give 5100 women each year earning over $100,000 a year up to $75,000 when they have a baby.

More than 160,000 expectant and new parents have now applied for the Gillard Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme.

Of these, around 102,000 have already finished receiving their Paid Parental Leave, and another 58,000 are receiving the payment now, or are awaiting the birth or their payment start date.

Less than a third of fathers had access to paid parental leave, according to mothers surveyed.

From next year, the Gillard Government is extending Paid Parental Leave to fathers through Dad and Partner Pay, giving fathers and other partners two weeks paid at the rate of the national minimum wage.

This historic reform, delivered by the Australian Government, gives parents more options to balance work and family, helps employers to retain skilled staff, and helps boost workforce participation.