Paid parental leave boost kicks in on Sunday

  • 30/06/2018

Paid parental leave changes come into effect tomorrow, but for some it's too little too late.

From Sunday leave will increase from 18 to 22 weeks, with a 4.7 percent increase in the payments.

"Delivering better outcomes for families is one of the Government's top priorities," said Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway.

"Paid Parental Leave plays an important role in making sure that families have valuable support at this crucial stage in their children's lives."

But Child Poverty Action Group economics spokesperson Susan St John says slow progress to get to this point has affected many people.

"We've seen increasing pressure on food banks, on social services, on private charities to provide the basics. It isn't good enough."

Ms St John says it's little more than an overdue catch-up, and fears progress will end here.

"It is seeming like this is one of their major thrusts, and maybe not much more will be done for this year."

Ms St John says there are still many flaws with the current policy - 140,000 of the worst-off children will get less because their parents don't fulfil work hours criteria of at least 10 hours a week.

"We are particularly concerned with the discrimination in Working for Families, and the Government's made no attempt to address that. The worst-off families are automatically excluded from at least $72.50."

Nonetheless, she's calling it a welcome first step.

Leave is expected to be extended from 22 weeks to 26 in July 2020, matching World Health Organisation recommendations.