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The Daily Mail reports that men in the country might soon be able to take boatloads of time off work before their child turns two.
Under the current law, the ‘primary caregiver’ can access 18 weeks of leave at the minimum wage, with fathers only allowed to take two weeks off for paternity leave.
She said: “Society has changed. A lot more men do want to play a role. And a lot of men do say they want to be the primary caregiver for some period of time.”
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten told the Nine Network that the government wanted to consult small businesses to consider how parents could be better supported.
“The reality is that primary carers are allowed up to 20 weeks and Amanda Rishworth, the new Social Services Minister, and others are having that conversation,” he said.
“If you have 20 weeks, and it’s for the primary carer, let’s encourage dads if they want to take up more than the two weeks they are currently allowed to, we should.”
According to a report published by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, only 12 per cent of men who were ‘primary carers’ took paid parental leave in 2021.
While many are praising the possible scheme for trying to achieve gender equality, Ariane Stark, a working soon-to-be mother, told the Sydney Morning Herald that she will struggle to look after her newborn and wishes for leave to be extended beyond the 20 weeks.
As parents are only offered minimum wage (a third of what her partner makes working as a software developer), they wouldn’t be able to take time off work for long and, as a result, parents should be offered more money.
“We should aim for more of a Scandinavian model where a portion is assigned for the partner – except for single parents – to encourage a more equal use of the leave between parents,” she said.
She also said that due to societal pressures, men might struggle to take leave as they are worried about how their workplace will perceive it.
“If [Frederick] was in a situation that a lot of my female friends and their partners are in, which is it’s not socially acceptable within the culture of the office to take the leave, then they wouldn’t," she said.
"You hear that a lot in law firms or finance."
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