Dads Opting out of Parent Pay
(Written 20.4.15). If you are expecting a new addition to the family, it could pay to read this article.
Figures show more than two thirds of fathers (or partners) who are eligible for government-funded paid parental leave aren’t applying for it.
That’s one of the findings of an independent review of the national Paid Parental Leave scheme, released by the Federal Government last month.
What is Dad and Partner Pay?
Eligible working dads or partners can get up to two weeks of government-funded pay when they are on unpaid leave from work or are not working.
The payment is based on the national minimum wage. Currently, it’s $641 a week before tax. It is paid in one instalment after a child is born or adopted and the claim is finalised.
The review found:
- Uptake of Dad and Partner Pay was significantly higher amongst casually and self-employed fathers.
- Few fathers were aware of the provision that allowed employers to top-up the payment to their normal earnings and only one per cent of fathers who took a survey on the scheme had been paid a top-up.
- The introduction of Dad and Partner Pay led to a small increase in the average length of leave taken during the first two months. It increased by about one day, to an average leave length of 11 days.
- In-depth interviews found the scheme had an impact on attitudes, with some fathers more willing to be assertive about taking leave and some employers more inclined to see parental leave as legitimate and normal.
- In workplaces where most employees had relatively high incomes, employers expected low uptake.
- Overall, it appears employers have accepted Dad and Partner Pay and that it has cemented a “soft” norm of taking two weeks leave after the arrival of a new baby.
Working mothers are eligible to receive 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave at the rate of the minimum wage ($641 a week before tax).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the review found the introduction of the Paid Parental Leave scheme in Australia has led to better physical and mental health for new mums and has also improved staff retention.
It also found:
- Paid Parental Leave delayed mothers’ return to work during the first six months, so that more mothers stayed at home for at least 18 weeks.
- It slightly increased mothers’ return to work in the longer-term.
- The impact in delaying the return to work was more pronounced amongst lower income and casual workers.
- PPL helped extend breastfeeding duration and produced small improvements in mothers’ health.
- However, PPL produced no change in the division of household labor or in mothers’ treatment at work while pregnant.