NSW updates paid parental leave scheme for public sector workers

It aims to make childcare responsibility equal for both parents

NSW updates paid parental leave scheme for public sector workers

New South Wales has announced an "overhaul" of its paid parental leave scheme for public sector workers in a bid to encourage parents to equally share childcare responsibilities.

Under the overhaul, the government will remove the distinction between a "primary" or "secondary" giver starting October to effectively grant the mother and father at least 14 weeks of paid parental leave.

"These changes to our parental leave offerings will encourage more equal sharing of caring responsibilities right from the start of a child's life," said Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor in a statement.

Treasurer Matt Kean said that they are hoping private companies will also follow the state government's steps in the parental leave entitlements.

"Children don't see their parents as 'primary carers' or 'secondary carers' – just as mums or dads," said Kean in a statement. "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."

To further encourage fair sharing of childcare responsibility, a first-of-its-kind two "bonus" weeks will also be given to partners if they equally share paid parental leave entitlements.

The NSW government said this will apply where each parent, including those outside the public sector, avails at least 12 weeks of parental leave and exhausts any paid parental leave offered by their employers.

Single parents, on the other hand, may take up to full 16 weeks of paid parental leave.

Read more: NSW offers cash incentives to lure women back to work

Primer Dominic Perrottet attributed the latest overhaul in the paid parental leave scheme to the low number of men availing it.

"While most parents across Australia are entitled to paid primary parental leave, only 12% of those who take it are men," said Perrottet in a statement.

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

The new initiatives were made under the 2022-23 budget, according to the premier, as the government continues to advocate and address the needs of modern families across NSW.

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