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April 06, 2009

Paid parental leave

There is some talk in Australia of introducing paid parental leave in the next budget and it's about time. Australia is one of only five countries in the world that don't offer any paid maternity leave (the others are the US, Papua New Guinea, Liberia and Swaziland). The United Nations recommends 16 weeks paid at 100% for women, and 4 weeks paid at 100% for men.

There are many social, health and economic benfits to paid parental leave. Primarily bonding, breastfeeding and women in the workforce.

Getup's current campaign for paid parental leave points out that "research shows the continuous interaction between babies and parents in the baby’s first twelve months of life shapes the brain wiring – affecting how a child regulates their emotions, communicates, solves problems, thinks logically and reacts to the world." Australian women are breastfeeding their children for less than the World Health Organisation recommendation of 6 months.

Sign Getup's petition for paid parental leave here.


Whatsup said...

Interesting. I thought, Australian government gives some incentives when you have a child.

Julia said...

There is a 'baby bonus', which is a lump sum, non means tested payment of $5000. And you said it, it is designed as an incentive to populate Australia. A friend of mine who worked in a remote Aboriginal community says they all called it the 'foxtel bonus' and used it on pay tv.

Whilst it is better than nothing it is not intended to keep women in the workforce and support maternal and infant health. In fact there has been a rise in teenage pregnancies since the introduction of the baby bonus. So it is working to raise our population if nothing else!

Swetha said...

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Julia said...

Yum, that mung methi looks great!

Anonymous said...

There is no paid maternity leave !! hmmm i thought all developed countries provide a paid maternity leave for at least 6 weeks. You are right.. first 12 months are very important in childs development.its really tough emotionally to leave months old kid and get back to work..

Julia said...

We've signed on to some UN declaration to say we agree with maternity leave in principle, but the government is yet to put it into action. It's becoming a bit of a farce.