Parents will soon be able to share in up to six months of paid parental leave, but the government has knocked back calls from its own taskforce to pay superannuation on the support measure.

Under the proposed laws being introduced to parliament on Thursday, families will have shared access to 26 weeks of paid parental leave by 2026, with four weeks of reserve leave provided to both parents.

Currently, families receive 20 weeks of parental leave a year, but under the changes, this amount will increase by two weeks a year from mid-2024, to reach 26 weeks by 2026.

The expanded scheme is forecast to cost $1.2bn over the forward estimates.

However, the government’s proposal eschews calls from its own Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce (WEET) to add superannuation payments.

Prior to the federal budget in May, the WEET recommended superannuation be included in PPL payments.

However, the government failed to act on the recommendation at the time, citing budget constraints.

A final report from the taskforce has since been handed to the government, but has not yet been made publicly available.

At its national conference in Brisbane in early September, Labor committed to paying super on PPL as a “priority reform”.

The Greens, who support the move to add superannuation payments to PPL, have threatened to obstruct the government’s changes to high balance superannuation accounts unless the government alters its PPL plan.

Announcing the introduction of the government’s bill, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the change would provide greater security for Australian families.

“Not only will this help families to better balance work and care, but it will also support participation and productivity over the longer term, providing a dividend for the Australian economy,” Ms Rishworth claimed.

But Greens senator Larissa Waters described the changes as “disappointing” noting that superannuation still wasn’t included.

“Labor has said repeatedly that they want super paid on PPL ‘when budget circumstances permit’. Stage 3 tax cuts, AUKUS subs, fossil fuel subsidies, or even the expected revenue from its proposed changes to super would be more than enough to cover the cost,” Senator Waters said.

“The Greens stand ready to expedite super on PPL as soon as the government stops dragging its heels. That could have been this amendment.”

Senator Waters said the minor party would use its powers in the Senate to get a better outcomes for the women in Australia who were “retiring with 23 per cent less superannuation than men”.


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By Rahul

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