14 November 2023

Surf Coast parents at the Geelong Multiple Birth Playgroup have praised the introduction of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023.

The Bill finalises settings for the Government’s significant expansion of paid parental leave to 26 weeks by July 2026.

Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker said the Government was committed to providing each parent four weeks of reserved leave from July 2026 when the full scheme is implemented which will encourage shared care and send a strong signal that both parents play a role in caring for their children.

The Bill also introduces concurrent leave - meaning that from 2026, both parents can take four weeks of leave at the same time if they choose to, providing flexibility to families on how they arrange their care.

Geelong Multiple Birth Playgroup secretary Jemma Smith, the mother of one-year-old twins, said the changes to paid parental leave would have made a huge difference to her life when her boys, Angus and Charlie, were born.

Longer parental leave would also allow have allowed Jemma and her husband Lachie more precious time to bond with their children.

“When you are the parent of multiples, you can spend a lot of your paid leave in hospital, so this would have been fantastic,” Ms Smith said.

She also welcomed the extra flexibility in how parents could take leave which encouraged gender equality.

“It is so much harder to go back to work when you have had twins, this would have been so helpful, our family would have had a steadier income sooner,” she said.

Ms Coker said more paid leave will ease the cost-of-living pressures for young families like Jemma’s and, importantly, create greater capacity for parents to share parenting, build a career and earn a pay packet.

“With its rapid population growth, among the fastest in the nation, Corangamite is home to many young families facing similar challenges as this. These young families in my community, and other communities across the nation, will benefit directly from this Bill's reforms,” Ms Coker said.

“By giving more families access to government parental leave payments and providing greater flexibility in how they take leave, we're encouraging parents to share the important role of caring for their children.  In the process, we're advancing gender equality,” she said.

“This is all about making sure that every family has more choice and better support.”