Sydney mums will call on the Federal Government to introduce six months paid support to ensure they don’t have to choose between the health of their babies and paying the bills, at inquiry into paid maternity leave in Sydney today.
The Inquiry will hear from 40 young mums including Western Sydney mum, Sariah Giblin, who was forced to leave her sick newborn baby in hospital and return to work because she had no access to paid maternity leave.
Ms Giblin’s baby Wiremu was born 14 weeks premature on the 21st of February and remains in intensive care however Ms Giblin was forced to return to work two weeks ago because she could not afford to take anymore time off without pay.
“They don’t have paid maternity leave where I work and Luke and I – like most parents I guess – can’t afford to just take months off without pay,” said Ms Giblin.
“I express milk on my breaks at work and then head straight to the hospital after my shift to spend time with Wiremu. Six months leave would have made all the difference for us. I hate leaving Wiremu in the hospital on his own but without maternity leave I simply don’t have a choice,” she said.
Unions NSW deputy assistant secretary, Amanda Tattersall said that Australia urgently needs a universal six months paid maternity leave scheme.
“Even healthy babies born without complications should be breast fed for at least six months where possible according to World Health Organisation recommendations,” said Ms Tattersall.
“The sad reality is that very few women have access to paid maternity leave or can afford to take time off work without pay.”
Unions NSW will be heard at 11.30am today at the Inquiry in the Surry Room in the Medina on Crown at 359 Crown Street, Surry Hills.