The Queensland Council of Unions has again called on the Federal Government to include a Paid Parental Leave scheme in this year’s federal budget to improve the working lives of Australian women.
A Paid Parental Leave scheme of 18 weeks, as proposed by the Productivity Commission, would cost $450 million – just 2% more than existing family assistance measures.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, QCU Assistant General Secretary, Amanda Richards, said that the cost was a relatively small investment which would reap huge economic and social dividends.
“A Paid Parental Leave scheme is long overdue and should not be overlooked in this year’s budget because of the global financial crisis. Families are doing it tough out there and a Paid Parental Leave scheme would provide much needed income support in uncertain economic times,” said Ms Richards.
“We applaud the measures the Federal Government has already taken to stimulate the economy – now it’s time to invest long-term in the labour market and introduce Paid Parental Leave. Employers would also benefit as a Paid Parental Leave scheme will strengthen the job market by retaining skilled, educated and experienced employees and reduce employers’ re-hiring and training costs. Women will also retain a secure connection to their workplace whilst being able to care for their new baby.”
Ms Richards added, “Women also need to know they are valued enough, both as workers and as mothers, to
take this leave with the reassurance that they are not financially disadvantaged and that their job will still be there when they return.”
The QCU provided a submission to the Productivity Commission in June 2008.