Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Paid Parental Leave to support new mothers

New statistics on births and fertility in Australia show that 295,700 births were registered in 2009.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics report – Births, Australia, 2009 – released today highlights the ongoing need for governments to support families with new babies and help mothers return to work when they are ready.

From 1 January next year, working parents will benefit from Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme.

The Australian Government’s scheme will give more parents the financial security to spend time at home with their new baby in the critical early months.

Our scheme will also help women stay connected to the workforce, and increase workforce participation. It will also give families more choices about balancing work and family.

The scheme provides up to 18 weeks of Government-funded parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently $570 per week before tax).

It is estimated that 148,000 families each year will be eligible for Paid Parental Leave.

The scheme is available for eligible working parents – including those working full-time, part-time, casually or the self-employed – who are the primary carers of children born or adopted from 1 January 2011.

This is an historic reform that Australian families have been waiting decades for.