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Paid parental leave a glaring omission from Fair Work Bill

The Greens say Labor and Liberal have shown they are out of touch with public opinion, by missing the opportunity to enshrine paid parental leave as a workplace entitlement in the Fair Work Bill.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young moved a second reading amendment to the Fair Work Bill this morning to provide for a paid parental leave scheme within it. All seven cross-bench senators supported the amendment, with both major parties voting against.

 “It is disappointing that neither the Government nor the Opposition can see the benefits of including a paid parental leave scheme as a basic pillar of workers’ rights,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Both major parties displayed how out of step they are with public debate on paid parental leave.

“The Government, in particular, likes to espouse principles of work-life balance and support for ‘working families’, yet will not make their promises a reality by legislating for a paid parental leave scheme.

“The Prime Minister himself said it was time to ‘bite the bullet’ on this issue over six months ago.

“The working parents of Australia are tiring of the Prime Minister’s hollow promises.”

Senator Hanson-Young said it was no honour for Australia to remain one of the only two OECD countries to remain without a paid parental leave scheme, and that introducing such a scheme would benefit the country.

“A government-funded paid parental leave scheme will not only bring Australia up to international standards, but will put money into the pockets of parents who will no doubt keep the economy rolling in these challenging times,” she said.

“We’ve dragged our feet long enough on this.

“The Government has been sitting on the Productivity Commission’s report into paid parental leave since last month.

“It’s time to release the Productivity Commission’s recommendations into the public domain - and then act.

“It’s not too late for a paid parental leave scheme to be made a much appreciated and long-anticipated inclusion in this year’s Budget.”

The Greens are calling for 26 weeks’ government-funded paid parental leave.

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