APS parental leave changes on way after review announced

Ian Bushnell 10 December 2021 18
Woman and baby

The review will look at how to provide parents with more choice in dividing their caregiving roles and balancing women’s economic and child-rearing decisions. Photo: File.

The first substantial review of public service maternity leave in 40 years will look at broadening eligibility, extending entitlements and providing more flexibility around how leave can be taken.

Australian Public Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott yesterday (10 December) announced the start of a review of the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act first legislated in 1973 by the Whitlam Labor Government.

Mr Woolcott said the review, which will compare the current entitlement with those in the private sector and state and territory public services, would help ensure the APS remained competitive to attract and retain staff.

“This review of our parental leave entitlements will ensure the Australian Public Service continues to be an employer of choice and is well equipped to offer working parents an opportunity to serve the Australian public now and into the future,” Mr Woolcott said.

According to the terms of reference, the review will consider how to provide parents with more choice in dividing their caregiving roles and balancing women’s economic and child-rearing decisions.

It will look at whether leave could be taken to allow part-time work arrangements or taken in broken periods over a more extended period than 52 weeks.

Giving agencies more discretion to grant leave for health issues such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and other serious neonatal health concerns is also on the table.

The review will consider leave for parents other than birth mothers such as adoptive parents, long-term foster parents, supporting partners and other permanent carers.


READ ALSO: APS Census reveals the most – and least – satisfied and engaged staff in the public service


It will also look at relevant enterprise agreement terms related to arrangements for salary increments, availability of leave for obstetric appointments, and payment of superannuation during maternity or parental leave.

The review will look at ways to make the parental leave system easier to understand and simpler to administer.

Mr Woolcott said the review would be informed by extensive stakeholder consultation and submissions from the public.

He said the review team was eager to hear from the broader community.

“Submissions to the review are open. I encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to make a submission,” Mr Woolcott said.

The review will report its findings and recommendations to government in early 2022.

To learn more or make a submission, visit the review page.


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18 Responses to APS parental leave changes on way after review announced
Spiral Spiral 4:35 pm 13 Dec 21

It has been claimed that maternity leave is one of the significant contributors to the wage gap between men and women. i.e. A man starting the same job at the same time may be more experienced and senior because they don’t take as much time off work looking after babies.

We have also been told that quotas work when trying to boost participation of underrepresented groups.

So surely it would be a fair idea to have baby leave, which is leave for the carer of the baby, completely ignoring the gender of the carer.
And then have a quota for men taking this leave to get the numbers up.

Of course it could lead to crazy situations where a couple has the woman’s request for leave denied because her company has exceeded its quota of women taking baby caring leave and insist that her husband take the leave instead. But quotas work and are fair (or so we are told) so it shouldn’t be a big problem.

Tori Montgomery-Martin Tori Montgomery-Martin 2:27 pm 12 Dec 21

I wonder if it will ever become mandatory for private practice.. doubt it

Ilise Girvan Ilise Girvan 12:15 pm 12 Dec 21

No more double dip maybe

Victoria Tye Victoria Tye 10:57 am 12 Dec 21

Let’s hope the guys don’t miss out again.

Yes, they don’t carry the baby, or breastfeed. But their involvement in those early weeks is important and undervalued.

Georgia Léigh Georgia Léigh 9:35 am 12 Dec 21

Stephanie Dakin watch this space

Davina Hopman Davina Hopman 8:58 am 12 Dec 21

Brianna Liesl our discussion on Friday!!

Jess Lee Jess Lee 8:21 am 12 Dec 21

Lovelle Middleton - yayyyyy!

We’ve been talking about this for ages! Let’s see what comes of it.

    Lovelle Middleton Lovelle Middleton 8:31 am 12 Dec 21

    Jess Lee yess I'm so excited haha. Hopefully they make it transferrable to partners and fix the 50 year old language up

    Jess Lee Jess Lee 8:33 am 12 Dec 21

    Lovelle Middleton omg the 1853 language in it… where do I start

    Haha

    Lovelle Middleton Lovelle Middleton 8:35 am 12 Dec 21

    I'm honestly thinking of making a submission, if I do I'll send it to you

    Jess Lee Jess Lee 8:37 am 12 Dec 21

    Lovelle Middleton ‘confinement’ *shudders

Troy Schmidt Troy Schmidt 7:18 am 12 Dec 21

"It will look at whether leave could be taken to allow part-time work arrangements or taken in broken periods over a more extended period than 52 weeks."

The mothers can take a year of leave, while the Fathers continue with their 14 days. Never has a stronger message been sent that a Father's contribution to the first year of their child's life is either not valued, ineffective or inconsequential.

I'm all for equal pay and all that, but it has to be EQUAL.

    Treena Loiterton Treena Loiterton 8:09 am 12 Dec 21

    Troy Schmidt you don’t have feeding devices attached to you 🤪🤪🤪

    Lisa Sharp Lisa Sharp 8:20 am 12 Dec 21

    Troy Schmidt "The review will consider leave for parents other than birth mothers such as adoptive parents, long-term foster parents, supporting partners and other permanent carers.". This is where the eligibility for dads / supporting partners will apply.

    Also, put your comments in via the requested submission so things can can to help dad's / partners.

    Katy Norman Katy Norman 8:39 am 12 Dec 21

    Troy Schmidt it’s not either/or. I totally agree men should have access to parental leave, but men and women should have equal pay for equal work too. I think paternity leave would help even things up at home and at work.

    John Haddon John Haddon 10:53 am 12 Dec 21

    Treena Loiterton are advocating that only women breastfeeding should be eligible, and once they stop they should return to work? Troy's comment whilst very frank, does have some truth to it, parenting is a shared responsibility, and both individuals should have the ability to share the entitlement, just because the father is at home with the child whilst the mother goes into work does not mean the child does not feed all day... at the end of the day only one person should be able to be paid per day, but they should be able to share the entitlement in the same way a job share arrangement would work.

    Sarah Ransom Sarah Ransom 6:39 am 14 Dec 21

    Yep and fix the sexist paid parental leave scheme while they are at it.

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