Women on Boards was part of the coalition of women that lobbied for universal Paid Parental Leave, which was introduced at 18 weeks paid at the national minimum wage on 1 January 2011. It defended the scheme against proposed changes under the Abbott Government in 2015 and in 2017 put forward a hybird model to the Government, based on a model of 26 weeks PPL.
In January 2017, Women on Boards made submission in relation to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016. It based its response on a survey that canvassed the view of more than 1,350 people sourced primarily from the Women on Boards network. The survey asked eight questions, including which of the following three PPL schemes on offer they supported:
- Current scheme whereby the parent received their employer entitlement for PPL plus 18 weeks of Government PPL.
- The Government proposal of 18 weeks PPL less the employer contribution.
- WOB proposal of 26 weeks legislated PPL with four weeks mandated for the partner once the 26 weeks is achieved (total 30 weeks). Where employees have access to employer schemes, these be topped up by the government to the maximum weeks allowed (30 in total)
The responses were as follows:
- 50% of respondents favoured the WOB hybrid approach.
- 15% supported retaining the current scheme.
- 13% supported the Government’s proposal
- 12% favoured a different approach or amending one of the three options presented. Of these respondents, 26% (approx. 3% of total respondents to this question) did not support a PPL being provided or did not think the Government should provide it. These tended to be women aged over 40 years and/or those who did not have children.
In taking this approach, WOB was seeking to ensure that parents who do NOT have access to employer provided PPL are treated with more equity than is currently the case, and benefit from the rise to 26 weeks and other arrangements proposed. Currently this large group is treated with less equity than those who work for large employers who pay PPL.
Download the Women on Boards Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee’s Inquiry Into the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016