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Greens to push for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Greens will push for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, saying that such a scheme will provide better support for parents and babies.

Yesterday the Greens welcomed the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for a government-funded 18-week paid parental leave scheme as a positive step in the right direction that was long overdue for working parents.

“Twenty-six weeks of paid parental leave is what the Greens are bringing to the table in this debate,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Twenty-six weeks’ leave following the birth of a child is what working parents need for a healthy and happy experience of birth and bonding.

“What the Greens are calling for is backed by a broad range of stakeholder organisations, from unions, to women’s groups and health organisations.”

The World Health Organisation, the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the Public Health Association all advocate six months’ paid leave for mothers to be supported through childbirth, recovery from birth, a healthy period of breastfeeding, and bonding.

A number of unions, including Unions NSW, the Community and Public Sector Union, National Tertiary Education Union, and the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union are also calling for six months’ paid parental leave at a minimum.

Senator Hanson-Young said that 26 weeks was realistic, pointing to other nations who had provided six months or more paid parental leave for their citizens.

“Japan offers 26 weeks, Canada 28 weeks, Greece 34 weeks, the United Kingdom 39 weeks, and Sweden 47 weeks – so 26 weeks here in Australia would not be unusual,” she said.

“In fact, what we have now is currently out of step with the rest of the world – Australia is shamefully one of only two OECD countries that has no formal paid parental leave scheme.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the future of the Australian community relies upon children being born and raised to adulthood.

“Those who undertake this challenging yet rewarding task of raising the next generation deserve our support,” she said.

“The Greens will continue to campaign for 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, to allow those carrying out the important job of parenthood to also maintain their connection to the workforce.”

For further information please call Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760

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