There have been two great articles in the Age in the last couple of days about paid parental leave.
The problem here is that any leave entitlement that can go to either parent nearly always ends up going to the mother. The weight of tradition is too heavy and the entitlement too inflexible
And these one about Sweden (which I know people on here love talking about!)
From a Swedish point of view, every new mother who drops out of her career represents a tremendous waste of the resources society has spent educating and training her.
Arguably, Sweden's universal parental leave and childcare system pays for itself through the higher tax revenues it generates from those women workers who have managed to maintain their careers through motherhood.
What are people's thoughts?
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20-03-2014 07:52 #1
Paid parental leave schemes
20-03-2014 13:12 #2
Once I went back to work after I had DS, DH and I both went part time and stayed home on different days with him. It was great, really great. But while I was on maternity leave the second time he got a promotion, the new job cannot be done part time so we have ended up in a more traditional model of him working full time and me working part time (less than I was before). If he had not got the promotion we would have kept up with the both working part time thing.
In saying that I have no interest in sharing the maternity leave in the first year of life with him, the baby being fully breastfed is a priority for both of us so I would always be the one to stay home for that first year.
20-03-2014 15:50 #3
It's so hard because I absolutely don't want to take another year off work. I want to take 6 and DH to take 3 when we have another but he honestly feels like he can't, even though he is entitled. It's just not the done thing. I am hoping he can be a pioneer in this area! But understand his concerns too.
Same with him working a four day week and me working four days so only three days in daycare. It's just not the norm and he feels he would be penalised, although obviously not consciously or blatantly. Plus of course be earns almost double what I do...! Which is ridiculous in itself as we both have professional roles. But that's another thread.
20-03-2014 16:54 #4
I'm surprised it's as high as 1 in 20 dads taking the ppl. They way centrelink carried on when DH took the last 3 weeks of my ppl, they had no idea how to process it.
I'm now working 3 days a week and DH stays at home with DD one of those days and she is in day care for two days. They love their time together and I'm surprised that more dads don't want that kind of involvement.
20-03-2014 16:57 #5
I'm passionate by this topic. Will come
back and comment later
thanks for sharing.
20-03-2014 17:28 #6
My dh would absolutely love to be a SAHD. But due to the lack of his lactation ability he simply cannot until bub is 18mths plus due to BF.
wifey of hubby who is always away. mother of two girls who are always amusing.
20-03-2014 17:44 #7
To be honest I think that the cost and availability of child care in this country needs to be the first priority. Without this you are really discouraging women from returning to the workplace. Having viable after school options for high school children also needs to be available - did you know that it is illegal to leave a 12yo home alone yet this same 12yo in year 7 has no access to after school care of any kind?
The next step IMO needs to be changing the workplace culture in Australia that you MUST work 9-5 and you MUST work from an office. So much of what we do in this digital age can be done from any location at any time.
If we implement a paid leave scheme without also addressing these 2 issues you are still not assisting women return to the workplace. This is what we need to help with gender inequality, otherwise you are paying parents to take time off to care for a small baby who are then forced to stay home because the cost and difficulty associated with returning to work makes it seem unfeasible.
In the coalitions defence at least their policy isn't a "one size fits all" approach like the current scheme.
20-03-2014 17:51 #8
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20-03-2014 18:24 #9
In my opinion, paid maternity leave is more than a nice extra to have, it is a basic necessity in western and rich countries.
Simple biology facts make that for now, women alone wear the burden of maternity and birth. We all know that it takes its toll on our body and health, and that we have to take a leave from work in the last weeks of pregnancy, to give birth and to recover from birth.
It is the same as workers on workcover. We can not perform our normal work/duty during this time, so we need to be compensated. At minimum 70% of our salary + super.
That's my first point. Maternity leave is a necessity not a choice.
As for parental leave, it is the stepping stone for gender equality and equal pay, provided that it has to be divided between both parents (6 months each) - take it or lose it.
It needs to be managed by the federal government : each company/worker chip into that fund for all their working life and gets paid out of that fund. So it does not put extra financial pressure on a company that gets 4 new parents in the same year out of its 5 employees... (I understand there would still be incredible pressure in terms of skills and jobs handover but that's another topic).
Only this measure would stop the community looking at mums as the first care provider.
In terms of breastfeeding, there are ways around going back to work before baby is weaned. Formula obviously but also expressing, or the other parent bringing baby at work for a mid day feed, or breastfeeding only in the mornings and at nights. Babies are far more resilient that we give them credits for, especially when they are over 6mo and they have started solids.
In terms of pressure for one parent to take its leave or not (namely dads being discouraged from taking parental leave), I was a victim of pressure from everyone (other mums, colleagues, managers, friends...) to not come back to work before 1year of parental leave.
So I believe the culture is big and powerful around mums having to take 1 year off work (at least) in Australia. Most people didn't look at me like supermum for going back to work earlier but rather pitied me or my child, or even told me that I was not a good mother. Water off a duck's back but I was and still am rather unimpressed by Australia on that matter.
Regarding childcare, this should be subsidised to the same levels than school. We should take care and offer a professionally raising environment for our kids a lot earlier than prep.
I'm amazed at the great work that the carers do with my son every day and wish their work was subsidised and recognised as is school.
All this make me long for France and I'll have a discussion with the hubby tonight... When are we going back to our free childcare system, free school, free university, free health system???
(obviously free is only an illusion - we pay it another way!)
Last edited by ExcuseMyFrench; 20-03-2014 at 18:27.
20-03-2014 18:53 #10
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