Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Passage of Bill for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme

Legislation for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme today passed the Parliament.

This is an historic day and a major win for Australian families.

Australian families have been waiting decades for paid parental leave. From 1 January 2011 their wait will finally be over.

This government-funded Paid Parental Leave scheme will give thousands of new mothers the financial support to make their own choices about work and family responsibilities when their baby is born.

Parents will get more support to stay home with a new baby, and children will get the best start in life. Businesses will also retain more skilled workers.

Casual and part-time workers, contractors and the self-employed will be eligible for Paid Parental Leave, many for the first time.

The Government’s scheme provides up to 18 weeks’ Government-funded parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently $570 per week) for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011.

Our scheme is fair for families and fair to business.

The scheme is based closely on the expert recommendations of the Productivity Commission and is in Australia’s economic interest.

The Government’s scheme should be provided in addition to existing efforts on employer-funded paid parental leave schemes. This will help local employers enhance the family-friendly workplace conditions many already offer.

With the passage of this bill Australia will finally catch up with the rest of the developed world on this vital reform.

This is a great victory for the many Australians who have campaigned over the years for a national Paid Parental Leave scheme.