UPDATE: Please see some responses to the lively discussion on the blog
We have a tremendous opportunity coming up in the Senate to deliver really strong paid parental leave for Australian new mums and dads.
The Greens want to give Australian parents 6 months of paid leave including super and make sure that whoever you are, you get your job back after you have a baby.
But the scheme the Government will pass in the Lower House this week is selling Australian families short.
1) It won’t give parents an actual right to leave from their jobs or guarantee them their job back
That’s right. The scheme does not improve any existing rights mothers and fathers currently have to parental leave. For women that means access to 6 months unpaid maternity leave, providing you have completed 12 months service with your employer.
Nor does the scheme give working mothers any guarantee to their job back after they take time off to have a baby.
2) 18 weeks is not enough
The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum 6 months leave from work for mothers after their babies are born.
3) It doesn’t include superannuation.
Studies show the majority of Australian women lag drastically behind men in terms of superannuation savings. The Rudd Government’s scheme will not meet superannuation payments. The Greens want to make sure that women taking parental leave won't be left at an even greater disadvantage when they eventually retire.
We will move amendments to the Government’s scheme in the Senate to get a better outcome for parents on this issue.
If the Government and the Coalition are fair dinkum about supporting families and working mums, they’ll back our amendments too.
That’s why we want to hear your stories – what you chose to do when you had kids, what you might choose to do in the future, and how a really strong paid parental leave scheme might change your decision.
Share your story with us by commenting at the blog, or get in touch with our office directly by email to tell us what you think.