New parents will soon be able to share in up to six months of paid parental leave thanks to new laws being introduced to Parliament today.
Currently, families already have access to 20 weeks of government-funded paid leave, but the new legislation will extend that by another six weeks by 2026.
The move will be phased in, increasing by two weeks each year from July 2024 until it reaches the full 26 weeks by July 2026.
The Bill increases the number of weeks reserved for each parent to four weeks in order to encourage sharing of care and household responsibilities.
The Bill also increases the number of weeks parents are able to take at the same time, increasing flexibility for families and supporting both parents to take time off work together after a birth.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the changes to the scheme better address the needs of working Australian families.
“The roughly 180,000 families who receive Paid Parental Leave each year will benefit from a more generous scheme that encourages dads and partners to take leave, and gives families flexibility to choose how they share care,” Minister Rishworth said.
“Not only will this help families to better balance work and care, but it will also support participation and productivity over the longer term, providing a dividend for the Australian economy.
“These changes will provide better security and choice for families. They strike the right balance between supporting our working families, encouraging greater gender equality, and supporting greater workforce participation.”
The Government estimates the changes will benefit over 180,000 families each year, at a cost of $1.2 billion from 2022-23 to 2026-27.
More information on the changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme can be found on the Department of Social Services website.