Paid Maternity Leave

Paid Maternity Leave petition online

Currently Australia is one of only two developed countries that do not offer paid maternity leave.

The International Labour Organisation recommends that women be entitled to at least 14 weeks paid maternity leave after the birth of their child. Most nations, developed or developing, have periods of leave either longer than or close to that minimum. Why should Australian working women be left behind?

A number of governments in the world do recognise the important role of parenting and offer paid maternity leave. Paid maternity leave offered in other countries includes:

  • Canada pays 50-weeks compulsory paid maternity leave
  • Italy pays 47-weeks compulsory paid maternity leave
  • UK pays 39-weeks compulsory paid maternity leave
  • Japan pays 14-weeks compulsory paid maternity leave
  • France pays 16-26 weeks maternity leave
  • Sweden pays 18-months maternity leave
  • Belgium pays 15-weeks maternity leave
  • Switzerland pays 8-weeks leave
  • Russia pays 140-days maternity leave
  • Israel pays 12 weeks maternity leave
  • Singapore employers pay 8 weeks maternity leave

Only one-third of Australian women have access to paid maternity leave — and they are mostly educated, professional, higher-paid women working in large companies or in the public service. The only employer who pays maternity leave to any meat workers in Australia is Woolworths.

The Productivity Commission recently recommended 18 weeks of paid maternity leave at minimum wage rates.

Paid Maternity Leave for working women must not be a casualty of the financial crisis.

The ACTU is coordinating an online petition calling on the Federal Government to include Paid Maternity Leave in the 2009 Budget. It is a position widely supported in the Australia community and one that has been a long-time coming. The email petition is automatically sent to all members of the expenditure review committee which includes, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Jenny Macklin and Simon Crean. Please sign up to let them know where you stand and pass it on to others as an easy way to support this important issue. The email petition will run until February 2009.

ACTU Paid Maternity Leave - Email Petition