Really Simple Money’s campaign for better terms on parental leave has been answered by the new government – and more may yet be in the pipeline.
We ran a national campaign in the months leading up to the election demanding better parental leave AND super on payments for women looking after their kids.
Now that campaign has had a partial win.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that Paid Parental Leave will be extended to six months from the current 18 weeks.
Currently, around 95% of paid parental leave is taken by women, but under the changes there will be the flexibility to choose how to split it between parents in heterosexual relationships.
“More dads can take time off work, so caring responsibilities can be shared more equally,” the PM said.
“And it’ll mean more opportunity for mums, boosting participation across the economy. It’s a modern policy for modern families and I’m so proud we’re getting it done.”
While its undoubtedly great for families, the PM has an ulterior motive – economic benefit. His point is that one of the best ways to boost productivity and participation in the economy is to provide more choice and more support for families and opportunities for women.
Right now, less than 50% of women work full time, but this is forecast to increase significantly with better paid leave options.
There is a qualification, however, because it’ll take four years before the 26 weeks kicks in as the increases are being staged. Sadly, anyone who has a child in the next 14 months will be ineligible.
From the current 18 weeks it will move to 22 weeks in 2024, to 24 weeks in 2025 and then to 26 weeks in 2026.
And the government’s welcome move doesn’t deal with one vital element of having children that is leading to women being the fastest growing homeless group in the country.
When we launched our campaign for superannuation payments on parental leave, we did so because the gap in super savings between men and women is so big that it is now a national disgrace – a third of women retire with virtually no retirement savings. And because women aged 55+ are the fastest growing homeless group in Australia.
And what astonished us is that every politician from Josh Frydenberg to Tanya Plibersek agreed it should be done.
We polled our readers. An amazing 82 per cent said women should receive super payments during parental leave. Another 81 per cent supported the idea of women receiving free financial advice from the age of 30 about their retirement savings.
And 65 per cent said they would support a political party with the parental leave super on its agenda.
Award winning Melbourne documentary maker Sue Thomson has launched a film about the plight of those who form the fastest growing group of homeless in Australia: women aged over 55. It’s gritty, emotional. We defy you to watch this and not join our campaign!
Here’s a snatch of what these proud Australian women they told Sue:
So we hope that Jim Chalmers and the new Labor government will go further and add superannuation payments to the extension of parental leave.
It was costed at around $240 million a year – not a lot when you consider the misery of thousands of mothers and grandmums sleeping in their cars because they can’t afford to put a roof over their heads after a lifetime of service.