Australian MP calls on six months parental leave for fathers
Each parent must be given six months’ paid parental leave if women are to gain equal access to work, superannuation and equal pay, said Independent MP Zali Steggall.
Providing six months’ paid leave to both fathers and mothers would encourage fathers to share care of the child, causing less disruption and long-term impact to women’s careers, she said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Childcare is a major barrier to equitable workplace participation and a major factor in the pay gap of around 14 per cent that persists between genders,” she added.
“[Extended paid parental leave] should not be gender-specific, there are many countries doing a lot to encourage a more equitable take-up of parental leave, whereas Australia is still very far behind.”
Steggall, who is also a mother, is set to launch a campaign called the National Parenting Strategy by the advocacy group, The Parenthood.
The campaign will include increased mental health support for parents, introduction of free early childhood education and care, and universal access to paid carer’s leave for parents tending to sick children.
Steggall has taken to Parliament on Monday, calling on the federal government to extend paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 52 weeks.