Proud parents: Craig O’Loughlin and Katrina Micallef of Sawtell with newborn Zac Michael.
Proud parents: Craig O’Loughlin and Katrina Micallef of Sawtell with newborn Zac Michael. Bruce Thomas

New mums welcome paid leave

CRAIG O’Loughlin was mighty relieved when the clock passed midnight on January 1 in the delivery room at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

His partner, Katrina Micallef, had gone into labour two weeks early and he was very keen to have a child born the right side of midnight.

“I knew it would be an advantage for our child to be born at the beginning of the year rather than the end of one when it came to things like sport,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

As an added bonus Zac Michael O’Loughlin who came into the world at 1.22am on New Year’s Day weighing a healthy 3215 grams became the city’s first child to qualify for the Federal Government’s new Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

The scheme which started on New Year’s Day provides up to 18 weeks paid parental leave and it’s expected nearly 150,000 families will be eligible.

The scheme was the furthest thing from Mr O’Loughlin’s mind at the time but he concedes it will be a help.

“You start a family based on looking after yourself, so we did our budget not including the paid leave but that bit extra will be handy,” he said.

Coffs Harbour’s second New Year’s Day baby, Aarya Sinha, was born at 3.15am, weighing 3610g (7lb 15oz).

Mum, Evgenia Biryukova, who emigrated from Russia two years ago, said parental leave is significant to allow mother and child bonding.

“Time is needed to create a bond so the baby feels secure and there is breastfeeding to consider which is critical during the first few months,” Ms Biryukoua said.

“In Russia people get up to three years parental leave and it’s fantastic that Australian mums will now get paid leave.”



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