According to Ai Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout, the scheme would complement other work and family policies which contribute to creating more flexible workplaces.
“The Commission’s model contains many of the elements proposed by Ai Group in its submissions, including the concept of government funding for the weekly payments to working mothers at the level of the minimum wage (currently $544 per week).
“It is particularly welcome that the Productivity Commission has rejected proposals for employers to fund the weekly payments. Such funding would create substantial risks of discrimination against women of child-bearing age,” Ridout said.
The proposed scheme will come at a cost for exmployers however, particularly in relation to the payment of superannuation contributions for absent employees on parental leave, with the industry group agreeing that the impact of these costs will require careful consideration.
Ridout explained despite these issues, the introduction of an appropriately designed paid parental leave scheme will provide many benefits to the community and, of course, for the children themselves.
“Importantly, it would also help keep women linked to the workforce and increase participation rates – raising workforce participation is a key element in addressing the challenges of an ageing workforce,” she added.