The Australian Federal Government has announced they will be adding an additional six weeks of Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for families.
The new scheme will increase the total amount of payable leave up to 26 weeks, or a full six months.
The scheme will start its expansion from 1 July 2024, adding two additional weeks per year until the scheme reaches its full 26 weeks from July 2026.
This increase in PPL marks the greatest increase in the scheme since its introduction in 2011, and will give families more time with their newborns, as well as serving to boost productivity and the economy.
The new plan will also provide greater flexibility, with PPL able to be taken in blocks between periods of paid work.
Single parents will also be entitled to the full leave payable.
The government will also maintain ‘use it or lose it’ weeks to enable more partners to access PPL, ensuring that both parents can enjoy the early days, and facilitating a more equal share in responsibilities.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: "This is a modern policy to support modern families. We know that investing in parental leave benefits our economy. It is good for productivity and participation, it’s good for families and it’s good for our country as a whole".
"More generous and more flexible paid parental leave rewards aspiration and provides every parent of a new baby with greater choice and better support."
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the PPL expansion was important to encourage more partners to take parental leave, and to boost women’s participation in the workforce.
Rishworth said: "We know that treating parenting as an equal partnership helps to improve gender equality."
Minister for Women and Minister for Finance Katy Gallagher also said that the benefits of the new scheme will not only benefit individual families, but the broader economy as a whole.
"Having a child shouldn’t be an economic barrier for families or indeed act as a handbrake on the broader economy," Gallagher said.
"Right now, this burden is borne disproportionately by women but we know that good women’s policy is also good economic policy and this decision is evidence of that."
Featured Image Credit: Ukraine Presidents Office / Alamy.