Public sector dads now eligible for equal parental leave

Men employed in the NSW public service will be able to claim up to 14 weeks of paid leave after the birth of their child in what their union is claiming as a major win for gender equality.

Stewart Little

The Public Sector Industrial Relations, which provides industrial relations advice to the government and public sector agencies, last week notified the union representing public servants that it would expand parental leave entitlements to both birth and primary parents.

From July 1, fathers who are their child’s primary carer will be able to access 14 weeks leave in the first year of their baby’s life.

Previously, only mothers were eligible for the leave, with up to one week available for the “other” parent.

The “other parent” can now claim two weeks paid leave at the time of birth and an additional 12 weeks paid leave, which can be taken as 24 weeks half pay, in the first year.

The entitlements also cover adoption and surrogacy.

A ‘huge win’

The union says it’s a victory for gender equality following what it says is a ten-year campaign for universal parental leave.

“This is a huge win for the parents of NSW and for gender equity,” Public Service Association general secretary Stewart Little said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It gives families more choice about how they’ll care for their new child, but it also means women will be able to more readily return to work when they’re ready knowing that the the other parent also has access to paid parental leave.”

It will also give both parents time to bond with their new child and share the load.

“Neither parent should be in a position where they have to make a choice between their career or their child,” Mr Little said.

“Universal paid parental leave makes the NSW public sector workplaces fairer, and paves the way for the private sector to follow.”

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7 thoughts on “Public sector dads now eligible for equal parental leave

  1. Should NSW tax payers really be footing the bill for Dad’s to now have 14 weeks paid paternity leave in addition to paid maternity leave – fully support mothers having paid mat leave. The existing parental leave of 2 weeks is reasonable.

    1. Its one week at the moment. I’ll admit 14 weeks is a long time and i wont be able to take that long off work, but anything above 1 week is a win. 6 would have been reasonable.

    2. How many times have you seen a couple, both working for the government? It is only one at a time to be honest, but even if both worked for the government, they would definitely take several weeks without pay. Birthing and raising babies is costly, but makes for a better economy, happier population. There are several dads who want to be there for the family and spend time with their babies. These people can now take care of family, and empower women to come back to work earlier. If you ask me, it is actually better for women and society to have gender neutral parental leave. Happier families result in a better society. And lastly, give me a break. Gender equality applies for both sexes.

  2. Having been employed by government and having fathered 7 children (with the same spouse) I think I left a meeting early once to get my wife to the hospital and I may have had a few days annual leave…is this retrospective?

  3. The father needs to be the primary carer and the leave must be taken in the first 12 months of the baby’s life. So basically the mother does the first hardest 6 to 9 months caring for the baby and then feels like they have to go back to work while the dad steps in just as the baby is getting easier and more enjoyable. There is a relationship between mothers returning to work and ceasing breastfeeding. We all know how important it is to breastfeed for at least 12 months. Personally I would feel like I was forced back to work and robbed of my time with my baby. It would be much better if the dad could take the leave after the first 12 months. Or have 28 weeks that can be shared between parents or taken by one parent. It may shock some people but some mothers want to care for their babies and young children.

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