Baby bonus: Carlie Williamson and her partner planned their pregnancy with the paid parental leave scheme in mind.
Baby bonus: Carlie Williamson and her partner planned their pregnancy with the paid parental leave scheme in mind. Trevor Veale

Carlie hoping for paid leave

CARLIE Williamson will be hoping through her hip pockets her baby doesn’t decide to make an early entrance into the world after this week’s announcement of Australia’s first paid parental leave scheme.

The Senate passed new legislation on Thursday night that means eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after January 1, 2011, will receive up to 18 weeks’ Commonwealth Government-funded paid parental leave.

Mrs Williamson, who is due to give birth on January 8, said she and her husband took the impending parental leave scheme into account when trying for their first child.

“We did plan this pregnancy to coincide with the scheme – we got married in February and did a lot of research and didn’t start trying until April because we thought that would get us in the mark,” she said.

“But my mum had all her children early so I’m hoping that doesn’t pass on to me!”

The scheme means eligible parents in NSW who work in the public or private sector – whether it be casually, part-time or full-time – will be eligible for 18 weeks’ paid at the Federal Adult Minimum Wage, currently $570 per week.

“It’s such a huge help. It’s really quite a substantial amount of money and it really helps when you want to have that time off with your baby,” Mrs Williamson said.

“It would definitely be a struggle for us – we are paying off a house and with rising electricity costs we’re a lot better off under the scheme.”

Working in child care, Mrs Williamson said she sees the importance of parents spending time with their children in those early months.

“I see mums who have to go back to work early and this is really going to help that,” she said.

NSW Minister for Women Jodi McKay said the scheme was an important milestone for women and families in NSW and across Australia who have been waiting decades for a national paid parental leave scheme.

“This national paid parental leave scheme will be critical in better providing support to parents with newborn children,” Ms McKay said.

“There is a well-established link between providing paid maternity leave and higher rates of women returning to work. The Federal Government’s paid parental leave scheme will help expand the labour pool at a time when businesses in both NSW and Australia need skilled staff.

“The NSW Government firmly believes that these benefits need to be more widely available to working women and we now finally have the federal leadership required to make this happen.”

Further information about eligibility for the new national paid parental leave scheme is available at: http://www.familyassist.gov.au/publications/paid-parental-leave-information-for-parents/index.html



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