Calls for maternity leave to be extended in Australia
Influential bodies in Australia are pushing to increase paid maternity leave from four to 12 months, citing better outcomes for both parent and child’s health.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is emphasising that parental care is crucial during an infant’s early life.
Together with the Business Council of Australia and Chief Executive Women, the three bodies are pushing for better paid parental leave schemes in collaboration with the Thrive by Five campaign, which aims to support better outcomes in children in their early years.
“The evidence shows that exclusive parental care fosters improved maternal and child health with improved developmental outcomes for the child,” said RACP President and Paediatrician Dr Jacqueline Small, reports Body and Soul.
Prior research by the Productivity Commission has also shown that parental care leads to better developmental outcomes, which is key for success in school, the workplace and larger community.
However, some experts have voiced out against the move to extend paid maternity leave. “When leave is too short, mothers may not feel ready to return to work. Conversely, a long absence from the workplace may break women’s ties to the labour market,” a study by the United Nations University highlighted.