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Paying dads to take six months’ leave ‘could help close the gender pay gap’

Wendy Tuohy (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Each parent must be given six months’ paid parental leave if women are to gain equal access to work, equal pay and superannuation, according to Independent MP Zali Steggall.

Workplace discrimination
Workplace discrimination

Ms Steggall will call on the federal government on Monday to extend paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 52 weeks that can be split equally between parents.

Providing six months’ paid leave to partners would encourage fathers to share care and cause less disruption and long-term impact to mothers’ careers, she says.

“Childcare is a major barrier to equitable workplace participation and a major factor in the pay gap of around 14 per cent that persists between genders,” said Ms Steggall, the mother of a blended family of five adolescent and adult children.

“[Extended paid parental leave] should not be gender-specific, there are many countries doing a lot to encourage a more equitable take-up of parental leave, whereas Australia is still very far behind.”


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