Better parental leave coming to the region

December 3, 2023 BY

Jemma Smith (left) with Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker. The Government is committed to providing each parent four weeks of reserved leave from July 2026 when the full scheme is implemented. Photo: SUPPLIED

LOCAL parents are celebrating the introduction of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023.

The Senate referred the bill to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee in October for review, who are due to report on the bill by February 5, 2024.

Geelong Multiple Birth Playgroup secretary Jemma Smith said the changes to paid parental leave would have made a huge difference to her life when her twin children, Angus and Charlie, were born.

“When you are the parent of multiples, you can spend a lot of your paid leave in hospital, so this

would have been fantastic,” Ms Smith said.

She also welcomed the extra flexibility in how parents could take leave, which encouraged gender equality.

The committee is currently seeking submissions from the public about the bill by December 15.

The legislation paves the way for the government’s extension of paid parental leave to 26 weeks.

If the Bill passes through Parliament, then two additional weeks of payment will be added each year from 1 July 2024, increasing the overall length of the Paid Parental Leave scheme by six weeks by July 2026.

The Bill also introduces concurrent leave so that both parents can take four weeks of leave at the same time if they choose to.

Corangamite federal member for Libby Coker said her government was committed to providing each parent four weeks of reserved leave from July 2026 when the full scheme is implemented.

Ms Coker believes this will encourage shared care and send a strong signal that both parents play a role in caring for their children.

“By giving more families access to government parental leave payments and providing greater flexibility in how they take leave, we’re encouraging parents to share the important role of caring for their children. In the process, we’re advancing gender equality,” she said.

“This is all about making sure that every family has more choice and better support.”

Ms Coker said more paid leave will ease the cost-of-living pressures for young families like Jemma’s and, importantly, create greater capacity for parents to share parenting, build a career and earn a pay packet.

“With its rapid population growth, among the fastest in the nation, Corangamite is home to many young families facing similar challenges as this.”

“These young families in my community, and other communities across the nation, will benefit directly from this Bill’s reforms.” Ms Coker said.

For more information about making a submission on the Bill to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee, head to aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/PaidParentalLeave