By TONY ABBOTT
If you had said to me ten years ago that I would be a launching a paid parental leave policy that provided 26 weeks paid parental leave at a replacement wage, I would not have believed you.
However, as the father of three daughters and as someone who has watched friends and colleagues struggle with the challenges of a young family, I have come to realise that our country needs to do more to help women and families during this important time in life.
With more than half of women in paid employment before they become mothers and with the gender pay gap currently over 17 per cent, the time has come for a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme in our country.
Under the Coalition’s policy that I announced yesterday, mothers will receive 26 weeks of paid parental leave, at their actual wage or the national minimum wage (whichever is greater), plus superannuation. In contrast, Labor’s parental leave scheme is paid at 18 weeks minimum wage, without super.
Every working mother will be a winner under our policy. Women on minimum earnings will be $5,000 better off and women earning the average full time salary of around $65,000, will receive $32,500 – and they will be more than $21,000 better off under the Coalition’s scheme than under Labor’s scheme.
Importantly, our paid parental leave scheme also includes superannuation. For example, a woman earning $65,000 who has two children when aged 26 and 29, will be around $50,000 better off in retirement than under Labor’s scheme, which does not include superannuation.
Under our scheme, fathers will be eligible for two weeks out of the 26 weeks for dedicated parental leave at their actual wage or the national minimum wage (whichever is greater), plus superannuation.
I am proud of this policy because it helps women, it helps families and it will strengthen the economy.
Australian men and women receive a replacement wage when they are on annual leave, sick leave and long service leave. Parental leave should be no different.