Urgent parental leave and early learning reform needed to reflect modern father’s role and twenty-first century families
Sunday 5 September 2021 – Thrive by Five welcomes the Grattan Institute’s report released today recommending an overhaul of paid parental leave to be more equal, more flexible and more equitable.
The key findings of the Dad Days: How more gender-equal parental leave could improve the lives of Australian families report includes:
- Federal paid parental leave scheme of six weeks reserved for each parent plus 12 weeks to share between them, paid at the current rate of minimum wage;
- In addition, if both parents use at least six weeks of leave, a bonus of two weeks’ leave would be available to be used by the family;
- Single parents entitlement to the full 26 weeks;
- Eligibility for the income-test based on household income rather than the mother’s income; and
- Evaluation of the new parental leave scheme after three years, and regularly after that, to assess effectiveness.
Recent national polling commissioned by Thrive by Five found the vast majority of parents with children under school age (82 per cent) say paid parental leave for fathers would help their families a lot. Most parents in all income groups say expanded paid parental leave entitlements would help their families.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said, “Australia’s paid parental leave and early learning systems have failed to keep pace with the expanded expectations of modern fathers and the reality of family life today.
“There has been profound transformation in recent years in the way we parent, the way we form families and the way we work but our support for carers of young children has not evolved with us.
“We know the first years of life are vital for family bonding and child development, and they can be among the most stressful for parents. Families are currently having to make some heartbreaking decisions because there is not enough support or options available to them when they consider returning to the workforce.
“The reform of the paid parental and early learning systems will be vital as our economy opens up and adapts to the new normal of our daily lives.
“This generation born into the COVID world will be particularly vulnerable to falling behind if they don’t receive extra support from their families, carers and educators to help them survive, grow and thrive.
“One of the best investments this government can make is in fairer and flexible arrangements for caring in the first year of life and quality learning for children under five,” Mr Weatherill said.
Dad Days: How more gender-equal parental leave could improve the lives of Australia families report available here: https://grattan.edu.au/report/dad-days/
Australian Early Learning Monitor parental leave poll available here: