Women, families, children and economy would benefit from expansion of paid parental leave scheme: Thrive by Five
19 September 2022 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five campaign is calling for urgent and ambitious action to expand Australia’s paid parental leave scheme to improve women’s economic participation and to give families better flexibility between work and care.
This comes as Independent MPs challenge the Federal Government to increase the scheme from 18 weeks to 26 weeks and the Greens’ announcement of an upcoming Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill next week.
The Centre Policy Development’s Starting Better Report has shown that increased paid parental leave for both parents is vital to the development of children and the wellbeing of families []. It also found that long-term continuous expansion of the number of weeks available to parents will help to alleviate compounding issues faced by families choosing to access early childhood education and care.
However, this still leaves Australia lagging behind many OECD countries that have an average of 51.5 weeks paid parental leave [].
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. It would also support the scheme to be extended to 30 weeks by 2025 and further by 2030.
Director of Thrive by Five Jay Weatherill says, “Expanding paid parental leave is a cornerstone of early learning reform, increasing women’s workforce participation and supporting the wellbeing of children and families.
“It’s great to see that the Crossbench is keeping the Federal Government accountable on its promises on early learning coming out of the Jobs and Skills Summit.
“However, we must ensure that Australia keeps up to speed with the global consensus on paid parental leave.
“Expanding the scheme to 26 weeks is nicely in line with the first-phase recommendations of the CPD report. But following through with providing parents 52 weeks of paid parental leave in the long-term is crucial to giving families better opportunities to balance work and accessible early learning and childcare.
“Action on positive, evidence-based reforms will be a prime opportunity for the Federal Government to follow through on its commitments at the Jobs and Skills Summit.
“Thrive by Five is eager to see these changes happen in the immediate future.”
CPD’s proposed sequence of reforms for paid parental leave under a nationwide guarantee for young children and families, to be achieved in the first 12 months, by 2025, and by 2030.
- First 12 months – Families receive 26 weeks paid leave, with some portion allocated to each parent to encourage equal sharing. Sole parents receive the full 26 weeks.
- By 2025 – Families receive 30 weeks paid leave, with some portion of leave allocated to each parent. Sole parents receive the full 30 weeks.
- By 2030 – Grow towards 18 weeks paid leave for each parent, plus an additional 16 weeks to be used as best suits the family. Leave paid at a similar rate to pre-birth wage.
Read CPD’s full implementation update here: https://cpd.org.au/wp-content/
Read CPD’s original Starting Better report here: https://cpd.org.au/wp-content/
 Starting Now: The First Steps to Delivering the Best Early Childhood System in Australia, Centre for Policy Development, 2022, https://cpd.org.au/wp-content/
 Starting Better: A Guarantee for Young Children and Families, Centre for Policy Development, 2022, https://cpd.org.au/wp-content/