Unions have been fighting for paid maternity and parental leave in Australia for more than 35 years.
Historically, the Australian workplace has not been structured to accommodate women’s childbearing capacity. As a result, Australian women have traditionally taken on the double burden of workforce participation and the majority of unpaid domestic and caring work. This factor is a large contributor to Australia’s gender pay gap.
Under the Rudd government in 2011, the union movement successfully lobbied for a national Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme. The scheme provides 18 weeks of maternity leave and two weeks of paternity leave, paid at the minimum wage.
After initially promising to improve the scheme by paying mothers a replacement wage for 6 months, the Liberal Government have now begun to chip away at the PPL scheme. They are attempting to pass laws that will prevent women from accessing both the public PPL scheme and their employer's scheme, should one exist.
If Australia is to achieve real outcomes in gender equality and pay equity, women must have access to a fair, evidence-based the PPL scheme that is not dependant on individual workplace policies.
The Australian union movement is currently fighting the Liberal government’s proposed changes, and we need your help.
What can you do?
Here are 5 actions you can take to fight for better PPL in Australia: