26 September 2023

APSC gives birth to new maternity rules

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The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has released the findings of its review into the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973.

In a statement, the APSC said the review proposed 26 outcomes aimed at increasing support to new parents so they can transition into and succeed in family life.

It also sought to protect and advance women’s economic equality.

“The review aims to provide employee parents and their employing Agencies with greater flexibility,” the statement said.

“The review recommends that both parents have a separate and equal entitlement to parental leave, so care can be shared more equally.”

The review stressed the importance of safeguarding the health of employees in the later stages of their pregnancy and said this was recognised with the introduction of paid pregnancy leave.

“Paid leave is also recommended for parents who experience a premature birth, stillbirth or pregnancy loss,” the Commission said.

“The review advances gender equality by recognising the caring responsibilities of all parents for birth and adoption, in recommending a separate and equal entitlement to parental leave.”

Parental leave should be flexible enough to allow families to use it in a way that best suits their needs.

“This could be in one block, in multiple smaller blocks, or even for a full-time employee to use a day or so each week to achieve part-time hours on full salary,” it said.

“The review recommended that anew Act be written in plain English so it can be easily understood by those who use, and those who administer its entitlements.

The APSC said the Government would consider the review, and any changes to legislation or other recommended entitlements would be subject to its future decisions.

The APSC’s review of the legislation can be accessed at this PS News link.

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