Media Release: 06 October 2008: Paid Maternity Leave should be extended to all Canberran women say ACT Democrats. Is Stanhope announcing an Election Promise? Or complying to a National Standard?


ACT Democrats President

Candidate for Ginninderra

Paid Maternity Leave should be extended to all Canberran women say ACT Democrats. Is Stanhope announcing an Election Promise? Or complying to a National Standard?

The ACT Democrats have welcomed the announcement on Paid Maternity Leave for all ACT Public Servants.

“It’s about time!” declared candidate for Ginninderra, Darren Churchill. “But we’d like to see the scheme available to all ACT working women. This has been Democrats policy for a long time.”

Both WIN and ABC news tonight reported that the government would introduce 18 weeks Paid Maternity Leave for ACT Public Servants.

“If the government and opposition were serious about helping familles, paid Maternity Leave would be integrated with a Federal system of government funded Paid Maternity leave and be available to all working women.”

“Legislation for a national Paid Maternity Leave scheme was introduced into the Senate by the Democrats in 2002 and again last year. Former federal Australian Democrats leader, Natasha Stott Despoja has been calling for Paid Maternity Leave for years. So we think it’s high time the old parties got on board with this common sense idea.” continued Mr Churchill.

“We would like to see the private sector included too. Most privately employed women are left to negotiate for Paid Maternity Leave arrangements at the workplace level or use other leave instead.”

“Will this scheme be in addition to the Federal government’s announcements? Or is Mr Stanhope simply complying with the standards that the Rudd government has just announced? It’s a bit misleading to present it as an election promise when all he’s doing is complying with a new national standard”

“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 of 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.”

“Paid Maternity Leave schemes 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.”

“Labor’s been a little late in converting to the Paid Maternity Leave cause. But we welcome their adoption of long-standing Democrats policy and we’d like to see it done fairly and for all.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill
ACT Democrats President
Candidate for Ginninderra
Tel: 0412 196 473

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