The face of paid parental leave in Australia is changing… yet again.

If you’re planning a baby in the not-too-distant future, then listen up, because these changes will affect you!

The Federal Government’s paid parental leave changes are slated for 1 July 2020, and, although they won’t impact the length of time mums and dads get, they will impact WHEN you can take your leave. 

How paid parental leave works now: 

  • Paid Parental leave is 18 weeks of payment, set up through Centrelink. You can either be paid directly through Centrelink or through your employer.
  • The entire 18 weeks paid parental leave must be taken in one block (usually as soon as bub is born).
  • The benefit is paid at minimum wage totalling $719.35 per week before tax.
  • It is available to working mothers or fathers who are the primary carer and earn less than $150,000 individually.

How paid parental leave will work in 2020

  • Paid Parental leave will continue to be 18 weeks and the wage will remain the same.
  • What changes is that parents can now take only 12 weeks as a block in the first year.
  • They can then claim the remaining SIX weeks whenever they wish (before the child turns two) and in any increments (one day a week, two days a week, six weeks in a row, etc).
  • If you want to return to work before 18 weeks, you can. And, if you want to bank six weeks for the second year, you can.

Same pay, different rules

The new scheme will offer plenty of flexibility for mums who do want to work part-time. For example, under the change, a new mum could take the six weeks’ paid leave as one day a week of leave for 30 weeks.

There are countless ways you can use this pay, depending on your circumstances and your work situation.

More control for primary carers and employers

Under the new scheme, parents and employers will be able to negotiate what circumstance works best for them directly. Simply put, it gives new parents the opportunity to find that ‘work-life’ balance, even during the first couple years of their child’s life.

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer – a mother of two young children – has called the decision “game-changing” for Australian parents.

We want to deliver choice to women and their families and we know fathers also want to take time with their children so there needs to be more flexibility in the system.” 

“Thousands of Australian parents will be better off under our changes,” Ms Kelly says.

“These measures won’t just give women and their families greater choice, they also will help grow the economy.”

Additional support for women in the workforce

The paid parental leave shake up is only part of the grand scheme to help women gain flexibility and support them in the workplace.

The Coalition Government also announced their No Interest Loan Scheme to help women experiencing family and domestic violence. The loans will assist with relocation, essential household items, rental bonds, or where appropriate, debt consolidation.

Additional plans include: 

  • Improvements to Workplace Gender Equality Agency systems
  • Providing scholarships for women in economics and finance through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program
  • Providing Specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships, including for financial support services
  • Establishing a Future Female Entrepreneurs program in partnership with the private sector
  • Creating a new grants program, Boosting Female Founders, to ensure women can access the finance they need to achieve their entrepreneurial goals

Of course, there is always a bit of fine print to these plans. In order for this paid parental leave policy to pass (and any of the above changes), the Coalition needs to be re-elected and pass it through both houses.

This isn’t the first big parenting game changer a government has thrown at us this week. Just yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the decision to bring in Baby Bundles, featuring $150 worth of baby goodies, for all first-time parents in Victoria.

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe, including her son, daughter, cat, dog, partner and baby #3 who is currently taking up residence on her bladder. When she's not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach or nagging her kids to put on their pants.

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