Whether you are a supporter of the 12 months parental leave or you would rather spend 24 months with your baby at home, the question to ask is not related to time, but rather to who should pay for parental leave?
How did parental leave get to be so contentious?
In numerous OECD countries (The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – that Australia is part of), mothers are entitled to less than 18 weeks of paid parental leave.
What happens with maternity leave in other OECD countries?
- The United States offers no entitlement to paid leave
- In the UK, mothers are entitled to up to nine months of paid maternal leave. However, payment rates for mothers in the UK or Ireland are among the lowest, with a full-rate equivalent paid maternity leave of only nine or 12 weeks respectively
- 12 OECD countries offer a mother full compensation across the leave period
What about paternal leave?
- Most OECD countries offer eight weeks of paid leave, which is almost three months; this is possible through either paternity leave, home care leave or father-specific leave.
- However, there are nine OECD countries that offer no leave, whereas 11 countries offer two weeks or less to fathers who want to take care of their babies.
What happens with maternity leave in Australia?
In Australia, eligible parents are entitled to 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. However, they are paid the minimum wage. Working dads are entitled to two weeks paid leave at the minimum wage.
In Australia, working mothers receive 42% of their previous earnings while on parental leave.
Who pays for your parental leave?
In Australia, paid parental leave is available for up to 18 weeks for eligible parents, paid by the Government at the minimum wage. Eligible working dads and partners also get access to two weeks paid leave at the minimum wage.
At the moment, if your employer provides paid parental leave, then you can still claim the Government scheme. One is unaffected by the other.
[ctt template=”9″ link=”25cb2″ via=”no” ]If your employer provides paid parental leave, you can still claim the Government scheme. One is unaffected by the other.[/ctt]
However, reforms are before the Parliament whose aim is to curb the capacity for parents to receive both employer and Government funded parental leave payments. This means that it might be impossible in the future to receive both payments at the same time.
For example, if you are entitled to paid employer leave of less than 18 weeks, then the Government will top up this payment to reach the maximum 18 week entitlement at the minimum wage.
Since the law might enter the system in January 2017, this leaves pregnant mothers in different circumstances as to what they expected they would receive when they became pregnant.
The reforms also change how employers interact with paid parental leave. In the future, parental leave would be paid by the Government, with an option for the employer to opt in to make the payments.
Do you have questions about parental leave?
We would love to help. Our dedicated specialists are ready to assist you with answers to your questions, so feel free to contact us now: