Diversity of Thought Blog

It’s Time to Bring Our Federal Policies into the 21st Century

A growing number of companies are making the move to support both men and women taking paid paternity leave, giving either greater time off for fathers or removing the definition of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carer.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government’s 18-week Parental Leave Pay has not kept up with the times with eligibility restricted just to the mother’s individual income. Thus, greatly disadvantaging families where the mother is the higher income earner and without any consideration of the father’s income or ‘total family income’ at all.

Emma Walsh, Parents at Work CEO said (The Age 26.01.20) “it was an unintended consequence” because when the scheme was designed 10 years ago the notion of stay-at-home-fathers were “an afterthought”. “In other OECD nations, it’s common for there to be a provision that is for mothers, a provision that is for fathers and a separate provision that they can both share.”

Surely, we’ve reached a tipping point whereby the number of ‘stay-at-home-fathers’ these days creates cause for reassessment. Why must we continue to make things hard for women?

Written by Lauren Trethowan, Deputy Chair The 100% Project