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Men could get 20 weeks paid paternity leave under scheme considered by PM Anthony Albanese

Men can get up to 20 weeks of taxpayer-funded paternity leave under a bold new ‘gender equity’ scheme being considered by Anthony Albanese

  • Labor government revises extension of parental leave rights
  • Under the amended rules, men could receive five months of paid paternity leave
  • Family groups call for even more, pushing for 12 months paid leave

Under a new gender-gap plan, new fathers can get up to 20 weeks of government-funded job leave that they can use anytime before their child turns two.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said she and the newly elected Labor government were “sharp” to revise the rules to better meet the needs of modern Australian families.

Under current paid parental leave rules, the ‘primary carer’ gets 18 weeks of leave at minimum wage – which in a straight relationship is defined as the mother, unless in exceptional circumstances.

Dads only have access to two weeks of paid paternity leave, critics argue encourages women to care for newborns and men to continue working.

Men could be eligible for 20 weeks of state-funded paternity leave under changes to the current system (stock image)

Men could be eligible for 20 weeks of state-funded paternity leave under changes to the current system (stock image)

In the last budget of the previous Morrison administration, they moved to allow couples to combine these two leave allowances and use the 20 weeks as they see fit.

Ms Rishworth said she is currently reviewing that plan to ensure there are no unforeseen consequences, but that she supports it.

‘Society has changed. Many more men do want to play a role. And many men say they want to be the primary caregiver for a period of time,” she said the Australian

“I’m really looking into what can be done with paid parental leave,” she says.

Family advocacy group The Parenthood wants the government to go even further.

It has launched a petition calling for 12 months of parental leave for new parents with full pay and pension.

The Labor Minister for Social Services said the Albanian government supported a plan tabled by the previous Liberal government to allow parents to share the 20 weeks of leave as they wished (Photo: Prime Minister Anthony Albanian and girlfriend Jodie Haydon)

The Labor Minister for Social Services said the Albanian government supported a plan tabled by the previous Liberal government to allow parents to share the 20 weeks of leave as they wished (Photo: Prime Minister Anthony Albanian and girlfriend Jodie Haydon)

Executive Director Georgie Dent said it is vital for new families and for gender equality.

She also praised some companies that are leading the way by offering parental leave beyond what is mandated by the government.

‘Some companies in Australia have made efforts to encourage fathers to take longer parental leave…by offering each parent 18 weeks of paid leave within the first 12 months of the baby’s arrival. And flexibility about how and when that’s done,” she said.

For example, if a new dad wants to take a few weeks of paid leave after his baby is born and then another few weeks, several months later, some workplaces are fine with that, she added.

She also said that Australia has to catch up with the rest of the world.

Australian fathers take the least paternity leave in the developed world, second only to the US.

Georgie Dent (pictured) of the advocacy group The Parenthood wants the government to go even further and offer 12 months parental leave with full pay

Georgie Dent (pictured) of the advocacy group The Parenthood wants the government to go even further and offer 12 months parental leave with full pay

Mary Wooldridge, director of the Office for Gender Equality in the Workplace, said men who take paternity leave not only benefit them, but also society.

‘The research shows that men who are more actively involved in childcare increase their well-being and happiness,’ says Ms Wooldridge.

“It also shows that when men take parental leave, they are more likely to participate in childcare on an ongoing basis and have a more equitable distribution of unpaid work at home.”

“This is very positive for both themselves and their relationship with their children, and it also empowers women to make more choices when it comes to going back to work.

‘And from an organizational perspective it appears to increase job satisfaction and productivity.’

COMPANIES THAT OFFER THE MOST PAID PARENTAL LEAVE

KPMG: 26 weeks

Diageo: 26 weeks

King & Wood Mallesons: 26 weeks

Stockland: 20 weeks

Mirvac: 20 weeks for primary care providers in a shared care model

Deloitte: 18 weeks

Tabcorp: 18 weeks

DLA Piper: 18 weeks

Medibank: 14 weeks

Aurecon: 14 weeks for primary care providers in a shared care model

L’Oreal Australia: 14 weeks

Aecom: 12 weeks

Leo: 12 weeks

SMEC Holdings: 14 weeks for primary caregivers

Source: Office for Gender Equality in the Workplace Data for 2022.

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