A recent report conducted by the Productivity Commission has shown that paid maternity leave would boost economic activity and create thousands of jobs.
Labor is under increasing pressure to fund paid maternity leave in the next budget, after the report backed 18 weeks taxpayer-funded leave, paid at the minimum wage of $544 a week.
An estimated 140,000 mothers would be eligible for the paid maternity leave each year, and research has shown that not only would it create extra jobs, but would encourage mothers to return to the workforce.
According to David Richardson of The Australian Institute, paid maternity leave would be more beneficial for the economy than stimulus cash bonuses and tax cuts.
“While we acknowledge the government may have some tough choices to make in the light of the economic downturn … paid parental leave remains affordable … and should be funded in the budget.”
The Greens have welcomed the report, with Senator Sarah Hanson-Young believing that paid parental leave is “good for parents, good for kids, and good for the economy in both the short term and the long term.”