Media Release: 15 November 2007: Paid Maternity Leave is an issue for the whole family

Media Release 15 November 2007

Paid Maternity Leave is an issue for the whole family

“If the government and opposition were serious about helping familles, a system of government funded National Paid Maternity leave would have been in their list of promises” claims Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill

Both Liberal and Labor launched their official election platforms this week. But neither of them would commit to introducing national Paid Maternity Leave. There are currently some provisions for Paid Maternity Leave in the public sector, but most women are left to negotiate for Paid Maternity Leave arrangements at the workplace level or use other leave instead.

“This is a family issue, not simply a women’s issue” Mr Churchill said. “When a family is used to having two incomes (as many are these days) and one partner has to take unpaid time off work to care for a new baby, the other partner has the added pressure of meeting the shortfall in income by having to work longer hours or find a second job. This puts added pressure on families at a time when they can least afford it.”

“A national Paid Maternity Leave scheme would enable women to easily return to work, prevent their loss of skills from the workforce, keep superannuation entitlements intact and reduce the burden on families with a new child.”

“It is a better, fairer, and economically cheaper system than the Baby Bonus. It would bring Australia into line with all OECD countries, except the United States. And it should be available to all women immediately on the birth or adoption of a child.”

“Legislation for Paid Maternity Leave was introduced into the Senate by the Democrats just before the last Parliament rose. And it’s high time the old parties got on board with this common sense idea.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

Darren.Churchill@act.democrats.org.au

0412 196 473

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