Boosting Parental Leave To Enhance Economic Security, Support And Flexibility For Australia's Families

Media release
15 Oct 2022
Prime Minister, Minister for Finance, Women and the Public Service, Minister for Social Services

The Albanese Labor Government will deliver the biggest boost to Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme since it was created by the former Labor Government in 2011, giving every family with a new baby more choice, greater security and better support.

Labor will add an additional six weeks of Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for families, bumping the total leave payable up to 26 weeks. A full six months.

Increasing PPL was one of the most frequent proposals raised by participants at the successful Jobs and Skills Summit in September. The Albanese Government has listened, has continued to consult and will now act to extend PPL to boost productivity, boost the economy and increase the time parents have with their newborns.

Families will have access to more leave and enjoy greater flexibility, with extended PPL able to be taken in blocks between periods of paid work. Single parents will be entitled to the full leave payable so their children don’t miss out.

Importantly, the government will maintain “use it or lose it” weeks to encourage and facilitate more dads and partners to access PPL, so that both parents can share in those precious early days and share the caring responsibilities more equally.

Labor made commitments around gender equality during the Federal Election and we are determined to deliver on them.

This reform has a significant benefit to families, and is an investment in women’s economic equality and in the broader Australia economy.

The Government will introduce reforms to modernise the system and improve flexibility from July next year. From 1 July 2024, the Government will start expanding the scheme with two additional weeks a year until the scheme reaches its full 26 weeks from July 2026.

The inaugural Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, chaired by Sam Mostyn AO, will examine the optimal model for 26 weeks and what mix of flexible weeks and use it or lose it component for each parent will deliver the best outcome for families and encourage more shared parenting.

Further detail of this important measure will be released on Budget night.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said “This is a modern policy to support modern families. We know that investing in parental leave benefits our economy. It is good for productivity and participation, it’s good for families and it’s good for our country as a whole”.

“More generous and more flexible paid parental leave rewards aspiration and provides every parent of a new baby with greater choice and better support.”

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said boosting women’s workforce participation and encouraging more dads to take parental leave was a priority for the Government.

“This will benefit mums, it will benefit dads, it’s good for children, and it will be a huge boost to the economy,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We know that treating parenting as an equal partnership helps to improve gender equality.

“It is important that we have a Paid Parental Leave scheme that supports modern Australian families and that complements other parental leave schemes offered by a growing number of employers.”

Minister for Women and Minister for Finance, Senator Katy Gallagher said that this investment in families would not only boost individual choice but would have flow on benefits to the broader economy.

“The issue of increased flexibility and access to Paid Parental Leave was consistently raised at the Jobs and Skills Summit and today’s announcement is evidence that the Albanese Labor Government has listened and taken action to deliver for Australian families.”

“Having a child shouldn’t be an economic barrier for families or indeed act as a handbrake on the broader economy.

“Right now, this burden is borne disproportionately by women but we know that good women’s policy is also good economic policy and this decision is evidence of that,” Minister Gallagher concluded.