Children to benefit from shared parental leave and funding for workplace flexibility

29 March 2022 – Working parents are set to have an easier transition into parenthood and be better supported by workplaces to share family responsibilities as a result of tonight’s Federal Budget.

UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said the government’s budget investment in Paid Parental Leave and Family Friendly Workplaces will create a lasting shift in the way working families participate in our economy.

“UNICEF Australia commends the Treasurer for backing initiatives that benefit working families and enable parents to have more balance and empowerment in the way they contribute to work and family responsibilities,” said Mr Stuart.

“By increasing the flexibility and broadening the eligibility of paid parental leave as well as funding the expanded reach of national work and family standards, the government is making a positive step towards our vision of a child and family friendly Australia.”

In wins for working parents and UNICEF Australia, the government has committed:

$1.4 million over three years to UNICEF Australia and Parents At Work to support 500 workplaces to meet National Work & Family Standards, create a Family Friendly Workplace culture and be certified as a Family Inclusive Workplace™;

To integrate Dad and Partner Pay and Parental Leave Pay, enabling parents to share their full 20 weeks leave in a way that suits them, within the first two years of their child’s life;

$346.1 million over five years to increase eligibility and access for an additional 2200 families.

The Family Friendly Workplaces, a joint initiative by UNICEF Australia and Parents At Work, benchmarks and certifies employers against a set of best-practice National Work + Family Standards by embedding and promoting policies and practices that genuinely support employees to balance work and family commitments.

“Families need flexibility,” said Mr Stuart. “Parental leave is not solely a mother’s responsibility, and this investment will put that decision in the hands of both parents.

“Family friendly workplaces aim to alleviate pressures on families; remove barriers to female workforce participation; improve family wellbeing as well as equal opportunity through shared care. As a result, workplaces enjoy increased productivity and children receive the care they need to thrive.

“UNICEF Australia advocated and the government has acted to the benefit of Australian working families through this initiative.”

Mr Stuart added tonight’s investment is a huge support in the early years of children’s lives. UNICEF Australia is committed to elevating the voices of all children and young people and we look forward to working with government on further initiatives to support their needs.