Australia moves to improve female workforce participation
The Australian Greens party, which holds the balance of power in the Senate, will introduce a bill in Parliament next week that proposes boosting government-funded paid parental leave to 26 weeks from 18 weeks.
Salaries would also be matched up to A$100,000 (US$67,032) per annum to help close the gap in female workplace participation in the country. Just over 62% of women took part in Australia’s workforce in August, compared with 71% of men, according to the latest data.
Senator Larissa Waters, a Member of the Australian Green, said, “Australia has one of the weakest parental leave schemes in the developed world, especially for fathers. We know from the experience in other countries that more equitable parental leave, coupled with free childcare, has a significant impact on women’s workforce participation.”
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The proposal would cost A$6.4 billion (US$4.3 billion) over the forward estimates, according to an emailed statement from the Greens. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier this month said the government would “have a look” at paid parental leave.
The bill also proposes that pensions are paid on top of the leave entitlement to partially address the gender gap in retirement balances, as well as incentives for parents to share care of children, reported The Straits Times.