Australia proposes improved parental leave framework for working families
The Australian government is set to improve the parental leave framework in the Fair Work Act, providing greater flexibility for families and making it easier for parents to take unpaid parental leave.
Under the proposed changes, an employee’s entitlement to flexible unpaid parental leave will increase from 30 days to 100 days. Pregnant employees will also be able to take some of their flexible unpaid parental leave starting six weeks prior to the expected date of birth of the child, allowing them to better balance work and prepare for birth.
Furthermore, the Protecting Worker Entitlements Bill, expected to be introduced to the parliament this week, will remove restrictions that currently prevent couples from taking more than eight weeks of unpaid parental leave simultaneously.
The changes aim to align the unpaid parental leave provisions in the Fair Work Act with those made to Paid Parental Leave earlier in 2023, providing families with more choices on how they take leave from work. Additionally, the changes seek to encourage parents to better share caring responsibilities in their child’s early years, ultimately promoting gender equality.