AUSTRALIA – Aussie daddies will soon have more time to spend with their newborns, by law.
The Australian government is announcing a new scheme where they would get 2 weeks pay at minimum pay rate. This will enable them to get A$1,178 (S$1,510) before tax, if the father earns less than A$150,000 (approximately S$193,000) in the previous financial year. The scheme will take effect in January 2013, as part of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s election commitment.
According to The Straits Times, the eligibility of the scheme will be applicable to children born or adopted after 2013. Details of the scheme will be released in a consultation paper, Australian papers said.
Miss Jenny Macklim, Families Minister said that the scheme would allow up to 18 weeks of paid parental leave for primary carers and allow both parents to take time off to care for their new born child together. Under this scheme, fathers will not be able to cash in the parental leave. This is to maximize the time to be spent bonding with their baby. They are not allowed to take tax-payer funded leave or any other leave entitled at the same time when utilizing this scheme, so as to spend more time at home. To ensure that work will not be an excuse to distract the father, they will also not be allowed to enter their workplace while on leave.
There are official data which has shown that over 75% of new dads do take leave when their baby is born, but keeping it to a few days or utilizing their annual leave to spend time bonding with their child. The recommendation to enable paid parental leave is to minimize financial and emotional pressure on working professionals. It also sends a signal that taking leave to care for children is an acceptable practice.
Permanent salaried workers are eligible for this scheme. Casual and seasonal workers, and small business owners who meets the criteria will also be eligible. This applies regardless whether the mother has been in paid work or at home prior to the birth or adoption of the child.
Plans for paid parental leave were supposed to be implemented in July 2012, as announced in August 2010. The launch date was put on hold after global financial crisis and natural disasters affected the nation’s coffers. This scheme will cost tax payers some A$188 million
According to the New York Times article, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Iceland are among countries that have already implemented similar paid leave for daddies, with varying amount of days of leave respectively.
In Singapore, there are no paid paternity leave for daddies. Should the government consider similar paternity leaves to bond with their new-born? Would this help boost the declining birth rates in Singapore? Tell us what you think.