Major change to parental leave for these workers

·2-min read
A new parent holds a baby while looking at a smart phone and Australian currency in the corner to signify paid parental leave.
The NSW government has extended paid parental leave for parents in the public sector. (Source: Getty)

Teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers across New South Wales will be encouraged to share childcare responsibilities with partners under an overhaul of the state’s paid parental leave scheme.

From October, there will no longer be a distinction between a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ carer, so all parents in the public sector will be entitled to a combined total of at least 14 weeks’ paid parental leave.

The NSW Government will also offer parents an additional 2 weeks’ ‘bonus leave’ if leave entitlements are more equally shared between partners.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the new initiatives would form part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

“While most parents across Australia are entitled to paid primary parental leave, only 12 per cent of those who take it are men,” Perrottet said.

“Supporting all parents to spend more precious days with their newborn children helps them form bonds that last a lifetime.”

The time frame from which public servants can take paid leave will also be extended from one year to two years after birth.

Additionally, paid parental leave to long-term or permanent foster carers will also be extended.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said, as the largest employer in Australia, the NSW Government hoped private companies and other governments would follow its lead.

“Children don’t see their parents as ‘primary carers’ or ‘secondary carers’ – just as mums or dads,” Kean said.

“Encouraging more dads to take up parental leave is crucial to supporting all parents to be able to choose to have a career, have a family or have both.”

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said strong parental leave entitlements played a major role in supporting women’s economic opportunities.

“These changes to our parental leave offerings will encourage more equal sharing of caring responsibilities right from the start of a child’s life,” Taylor said.

The ‘bonus leave’ scheme is one of the first of its kind in Australia and will apply where each parent - including parents employed outside the public sector - takes at least 12 weeks’ parental leave and exhausts any paid parental leave offered by their employers.

Single parents will be entitled to the full 16 weeks of paid parental leave.

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