The overhaul reported in NSW involves the government removing the distinction between a "primary" or "secondary" giver starting October to grant the mother and father at least 14 weeks of paid parental leave. "These changes to our parental leave offerings will encourage more equal sharing of caring responsibilities right from the start of a child's life," said Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Women, as reported by media.
Private companies are also expected to follow in the footsteps of the government. An additional encouragement also lies in a first-of-its-kind two-week bonus, which will be given to partners if they equally share paid parental leave entitlements. This will apply when each parent, including those outside the public sector, avails at least 12 weeks of parental leave and exhausts any paid parental leave offered by their employers. When it comes to single parents, they will be eligible for 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave.
While ministers in Australia are taking note of the low percentage (12%) of men availing of paid parental leave, government leaders in New Zealand are taking account of inflation in their policy changes. In an announcement by Michael Wood, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, New Zealand is granting new parents an extra $40 a week when they avail paid parental leave entitlements starting July 1.
"We know things are tough right now for many families as global inflation affects prices here at home, today's announcement will help ease some of that pressure by putting an extra $40 a week in the pockets of those taking new parents," said Wood.
This means from the previous $621.76, new parents will start receiving a maximum rate of $661.12 every week, a 6.3% increase before tax. In addition, the minimum rate for self-employed individuals will also be hiked to $212 per week, equivalent to 10 hours of the minimum wage of an adult worker. In terms of paid leave, eligible employees may avail up to 26 weeks of paid parental leave.
An impactful step taken by both these governments highlights the importance of considering social and economic changes and their influence on parental responsibilities. Corporations, in their endeavour to address well-being, must step up to incorporate these new legislations; it’s also an opportunity to imagine and redefine the different ways in which we can do right by our employees.