New parents will be able to access six months of paid parental leave over the next four years, with new details provided in tonight’s “family-friendly” Federal Budget.
Currently, parents are eligible for 18 weeks of paid parental leave for the primary care giver and two weeks of leave for the secondary carer, both paid at the national minimum wage of about $812 a week.
The change means primary carers can receive an extra $6,499.
The change will cost $531.6 million over four years from 2022-23.
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From July 1, 2023, the government-funded scheme will start increasing by two weeks per year, until it reaches the full 26 weeks from July 1, 2026.
Two-parent families can choose how to split the six months’ leave, and single parents can take the full amount.
Parents can also take the leave at the same time, so that they can spend more time together with their child.
Parents can also take leave in blocks as small as one day at a time.
Eligibility for the scheme will be expanded to include families earning up to $350,000 from July 1, 2023. Currently, there is an individual income test of $156,647.
There will be “use it or lose it” weeks for each parent to encourage more fathers and partners to access the leave, allowing parents to share caring more equally.
Either parent will be able to claim the payment first and both parents can receive the payment at the same time as any employer-funded parental leave.
"Again, this goes beyond taking a bit of pressure off household budgets," Treasurer Jim Chalmers said.
"This is about greater equality and greater security for Australian women – and more dads doing their bit."
Cheaper child care
The Federal Government introduced childcare subsidy legislation to parliament in September, which it said would cost $4.7 billion and would come into effect on July 1, 2023.
Under the legislation, childcare subsidy rates for families earning less than $530,000 would be increased.
Currently, the subsidy stops once a family reaches the $356,756 income mark.
Families earning up to $80,000 will be refunded 90 per cent of their first child’s fees.
The Budget has also invested $10.8 million to fund an ACCC childcare price inquiry, starting in January.
Childcare costs have increased 41 per cent over the past eight years.