Paid Parental Leave Amendment

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I rise to speak on the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023, a bill that meets the needs of Australian families by giving working people more access to support when its needed and giving more time to parents after the birth of their child.

This bill is about more choices, more options and more flexibility when it comes to paid parental leave and the care of young children.

This is about parents having greater agency to share caring responsibilities.

It’s a modern bill for a modern Australia. 

From 1 July, two additional weeks of leave will be added each year until 2026.

By 2026, new parents will have a total of 26 weeks leave to use—six months of paid parental leave.

That is an absolute game changer.

One parent can access 22 of those weeks, a month more than under the current scheme.

The other parent can access four weeks, double the amount they have now.

Critically, parents will be able to take four weeks together instead of just two.

For families this time is invaluable.

It is more time to recover after childbirth and more time to spend with their child as a family together. It is the ability to give care together for longer. 

We know this will improve wellbeing outcomes for families across Australia.

We also know that investing in paid parental leave benefits our economy and drives gender equality.

We are a majority-female government, the first in history, and gender equality is at the heart of everything we do.

We want to encourage and facilitate shared caregiving to provide more choice and more support for women. 

Expanding paid parental leave means women can better balance their caregiving and their work responsibilities, but it also means that fathers and partners are supported to take a greater caring role too.

We want agency for families to figure out how to do that best.

They should have the flexibility to structure their care arrangements.

Men and partners should be valued as caregivers too, and parenting can be treated as an equal partnership.

When these structures are in place, women are better supported to engage with the workforce, and equality is advanced. 

Women’s economic equality is top of mind for our government every day.

In addition to this bill, we’ve driven a strong agenda for women.

We delivered a historic and life-changing 15 per cent pay rise for Australia’s aged-care workforce.

We supported a life-changing pay rise for minimum wage workers two years in a row.

We’ve seen a historic increase in the workforce participation rates of women.

Women are seeing how working, caring and living can work for them.

We’ve also seen the gender pay gap drop to 12 per cent, the lowest level on record.

And, come 1 July, 100 per cent of working women will receive a tax cut, and 90 per cent of working women will receive a bigger tax cut under our plan.

There is more work to do, but I’m so proud of what we’ve delivered so far, and this bill delivers more. 

Paid parental leave is a strong Labor legacy that we first established back in 2011 under the leadership of the incredible minister Jenny Macklin, and the Albanese government have worked hard to introduce reforms to now modernise the scheme, to make it flexible and equitable and just to make it more helpful to the families that it aims to support.

Just like Medicare, it took a Labor government to establish paid parental leave, and now it takes a Labor government to protect it and to expand it.

And that’s exactly what we’re doing with this bill. I’m proud to support the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill today.