Maternity leave provisions for employees of the Australian Public Service will be reviewed for the first time in four decades, with flexibility and gender equality both on the table.
The review will also consider whether leave should be extended to people other than birth mothers, including supporting partners and foster parents.
The Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 (ML Act) currently provides maternity leave entitlements for female APS employees and employees of other Australian government agencies, who are pregnant and give birth to a child.
APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott says the review will explore paid maternity leave eligibility and entitlements, the health needs of birth mothers, and flexibility of entitlements. It will be informed by stakeholder consultation and community feedback.
“I am pleased to announce the first substantial review of the Maternity Leave Act in more than forty years,” Mr Woolcott said in a statement.
“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.”
Terms of reference include cutting red tape, how current entitlements compare to the private sector and state and territory public services, and superannuation.
In considering gender equality, the review will consider ways of providing parents with more choice in dividing caregiving roles, and balancing women’s economic empowerment with their responsibilities as a parent.
It will also look at and flexibility in the way leave is used, including whether leave could be used to facilitate part-time work arrangements, or taken in broken periods over a longer period than 52 weeks.
Submissions will close on February 4 with the findings to be reported in early 2022.
Submissions can be made here.
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