Groundbreaking parental leave for public sector workers
Paramedics, police officers, teachers and other public sector workers across the state will be supported to spend more precious time with their young babies, with major changes to NSW public service parental leave entitlements now in effect.
Every mother and father in the NSW public sector is now entitled to 14 weeks’ paid parental leave as part of groundbreaking changes to remove the distinction between a ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carer in the NSW Government’s paid parental leave scheme.
Parents can now also use their leave up to two years after the birth, adoption, surrogacy or permanent out-of-home care placement of their child.
An additional two weeks’ ‘bonus leave’ is now also available where parents more equally share childcare responsibilities between partners, allowing public sector employees to take up to 16 weeks’ paid parental leave.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said NSW was leading the way on parental leave in Australia because giving parents more choice about how they juggle care and careers helps strengthen families and women’s career and economic opportunities.
“Giving parents the support and real options to share care in the early years of their child’s life, lets families choose what works for them and delivers equal opportunity for NSW Government employees,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Giving fathers the option to spend more time with their young ones and mothers the option to return to work when it suits them will build strong foundations for families and benefit the whole community.”
As part of the 2022-23 Budget, the NSW Government committed $16.5 billion over 10 years to level the playing field for women, with $4.9 billion committed over the four years to 2025-26, the biggest investment in the State’s history to support women and families.
Treasurer Matt Kean said the updated public sector parental leave scheme is one of the first of its kind in the country, and encouraged other governments and the private sector to follow suit.
“The NSW Government is the largest employer in Australia and we are leading the way by ensuring families of all shapes and sizes will benefit from these pioneering changes,” Mr Kean said.
“Caring for children is one of the most important jobs in our society and it’s only right that we value it appropriately.”
Public sector workers undergoing fertility treatment now also have access to up to five days’ fertility leave per year.
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the NSW Government is committed to ensuring NSW is the best place in the country for women to live, work and raise a family.
“Strong parental leave entitlements play a major role in supporting women’s economic opportunity and career progression,” Ms Taylor said.
“Paid parental leave created with gender equality at its core will contribute to increased participation in the workforce, improved economic opportunities and greater financial wellbeing for women.”
The updated parental leave scheme came into effect on 1 October 2022.