May 11, 2009

Paid parental leave, check. Now what about carers?

For the first time the government is prepared to acknowledge a clear unequivocal financial relationship between the workplace and parenting, writes Eva Cox.

At last, we have a government committing to paid parental leave! This is the real good news: the government is prepared to acknowledge a clear unequivocal financial relationship between the workplace and parenting. This is the first time that there will be a specific publicly funded program that makes the connection explicit. We have had programs directed to reinforce the “choice” of non working mothers, such as Family Tax Benefit B, but not those in paid work, as even the child care funding also covers those who are not employed.

This connection needs to be celebrated as a basic shift in the political perception of legitimate time off for the care of others. It has been a long time coming as shown by two near misses, one under Keating and another with the Baby Bonus. Both converted a maternity leave possibility into a welfare payment for all mothers. This time it is clearly labelled leave and has a workforce entitlement component. Hooray!

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One thought on “Paid parental leave, check. Now what about carers?

  1. Julie McNeill

    Well done Eva, and all of you women who kept up the argument and in the political faces. My first feeling on Mothers Day was that after many months of being pregnant, mum and the family will be able to spend a decent amount of nurturing time together, as they adapt to new baby, without putting the baby into creche.
    For me the focus is on the early years, the foundation of an individual life and so when you celebrate the final acknowledgment of paid leave for the care of others that is a milestone(even though they’ve had it in other countries for years!).
    Having choice to cater for your circumstances is what it’s all about and being able to negotiate and be flexible with your workplace.
    Personally, nobody would employ me to earn a wage, but I was a brilliant in my 24/7 Mothering occupation, and my daughters are now fully fledged in Nursing and Teaching.
    This is an important decision by the Rudd team to do this in this economically testing time, just wish it wouldn’t take so long!

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