Paid parental leave should be more equal and reflect changing expectations of modern Australian families
28 June 2022 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five campaign has welcomed the federal
government’s moves towards a more equal paid parental leave scheme that will better meet the
needs of Australian families.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, has indicated support for extending the
Commonwealth’s total parental leave, from 18 weeks for the mother and two weeks for the
supporting parent to 20 weeks of paid leave, to allow both parents greater flexibility.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said, “Making the 20 weeks of Commonwealth paid
parental leave available to be shared by both parents is an important first step towards the
reform that better reflects the changing expectations of the role of modern Australian parents.”
Thrive by Five is calling for the federal government to increase paid parental leave from 18 to 26
weeks with a bonus two weeks of leave if it is shared between parents. We are also calling for
these arrangements to be extended to 30 weeks by 2025.
“Not only is Australia’s paid parental leave scheme one of the least generous in the world,
restricting paid leave for the supporting parent to two weeks deprives families the opportunity
to choose a caring arrangement that best suits their needs.
“We urge the federal government to be ambitious in reforming Australia’s paid parental leave
scheme and better allow both parents to play an equal role at home and at work.
“Paid parental leave is shown to have to have significant benefits for all family members.
“A more equal leave scheme would allow supporting parents, most often dads, to have time to
bond with their baby and establish connections and attachment that supports the child into
“International evidence has shown fathers’ brains change when they spend time with the
newborn baby, helping to develop their parenting instincts and emotional connection with their
“For mothers, a more flexible paid parental leave scheme would allow for better opportunities to
choose when and how to return to work, and help address the long term impacts of the gender
pay gap and the gender superannuation gap.
“For children, paid parental leave is associated with high rates of breastfeeding and vaccination,
better health and mental health and better cognitive functioning,” said Mr Weatherill.