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Mothers given generous handout in Federal Budget

As expected, the Federal Budget has included an 18 week paid parental leave at the minimum wage, amounting to roughly $540 a week and will be available for women earning less that $150,000 a year.

The scheme is expected to be implemented in 2011 and has been welcomed by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick who said it was a “major triumph” and that it sent a “strong message” that women matter in the workplace.

Broderick said it would also help to stimulate the economy and encourage workforce participation among mothers. The decision follows a campaign from women’s groups and unions spanning more than 30 years.

ACTU president Sharan Burrow said the announcement was a “magnificent day” and a “present for mothers right across the country.”

However the Government did not take all recommendations from the Productivity Commision report into consideration, axing the two weeks of paid parental or partner leave, a move considered “disappointing” by RMIT University academic Dr Sara Charlesworth.

She believes that partner leave would encourage men to take the time and space to be fathers, but overall has welcomed the scheme.

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