Kevin Rudd’s Paid Parental Leave bill passed the Senate yesterday, bringing 18 weeks paid maternity leave to mothers beginning January 1st next year.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the passing of the Paid Parental Leave Bill by the Senate yesterday was the culmination of a 30-year campaign by the unions.
“This is a truly great achievement for working women and the Rudd Government should be congratulated.
“It makes me immensely proud to be part of the Australian labour movement when we are able to deliver such important advances in working people’s rights,” Ms Burrow said.
“It is long overdue. Two-thirds of Australian women who have a baby currently get no paid parental leave. Parents have been forced to make a choice between having a child and paying the bills.
“The Rudd Government’s scheme will finally overcome this long-time injustice for working families.”
Ms Burrow said the ACTU and unions would build on this major reform with other measures to help women balance their work and family responsibilities and lead fulfilling lives.
Given the Paid Parental Scheme payments come from Government Tax Revenue, rather than businesses themselves, the Australian Industry Group is broadly supportive of the Government’s PPL bill, feeling it strikes a good balance for all concerned.
“The final passage through the Parliament today of the Federal Government’s paid parental leave legislation marks the achievement of a hard won and important reform which will work well for families and work well for business,” Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said today.
“There will be compliance costs for business, which are always onerous, however the reform is one which we are confident will prove to be beneficial for Australia.
“Australia has been one of only 2 countries in the OECD not to provide for parental leave and it is a league table from which we have now thankfully removed ourselves,” Mrs Ridout said.