Delivering a historic expansion of Paid Parental Leave

The Albanese Labor Government is keeping its commitment to improve the lives of Australian families with the introduction of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023.

The Bill finalises settings for the Government’s significant expansion of Paid Parental Leave announced in the October 2022-23 Budget, increasing the scheme to 26 weeks by July 2026.

With this Bill, the Government is committing to providing each parent four weeks of reserved leave from July 2026 when the full scheme is implemented which will encourage shared care and send a strong signal that both parents play a role in caring for their children.

This Bill also introduces concurrent leave – meaning that from 2026 both parents can take four weeks of leave at the same time if they choose to, providing flexibility to families in how they arrange their care.

These changes reflect the additional advice on PPL sought by government from the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce and represent the largest investment in Paid Parental Leave since the scheme was introduced in 2011.

It delivers more support for working families, improves outcomes for children and advances gender equality. 

The Bill follows changes commencing 1 July 2023 to make the scheme more accessible, flexible and gender equitable. These important structural changes laid a strong foundation for our expansion to 26 weeks.

Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said that through the Jobs and Skills Summit and the Employment White Paper, the Government had heard loud and clear that support for families to balance care is critical to ensuring women’s long term economic equality.

“We know that good women’s policy is also good economic policy, and this investment will promote parenting as an equal partnership while boosting the economy,” Minister Gallagher said.

“This is all about making sure that every family has more choice and better support.”

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the changes to the scheme better address the needs of working Australian families and provides greater security as they adjust to life with a newborn or adopted child.

“The roughly 180,000 families who receive Paid Parental Leave each year will benefit from a more generous scheme that supports maternal health and wellbeing, encourages dads and partners to take leave, and gives families flexibility to choose how they share care,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Not only will this help families to better balance work and care, but it will also support participation and productivity over the longer term, providing a dividend for the Australian economy.

“These changes will provide better security and choice for families. They strike the right balance between supporting our working families, encouraging greater gender equality, and supporting greater workforce participation.”

Pending its passage through Parliament, two additional weeks of payment will be added each year from 1 July 2024, increasing the overall length of the Paid Parental Leave scheme by six weeks by July 2026.

The Bill increases the number of weeks reserved for each parent to four weeks in order to encourage sharing of care and household responsibilities.

The Bill also increases the number of weeks parents are able to take at the same time, increasing flexibility for families and supporting both parents to take time off work together after a birth.

The Government’s changes will benefit over 180,000 families each year, at a cost of $1.2 billion from 2022-23 to 2026-27.

More information on the changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme can be found on the Department of Social Services website.