Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, is outlining a new financial plan today in Canberra aimed at supporting women and securing their financial independence. Over the next four years, $109 million will be dedicated to giving mums more paid parental leave and will even allow victims of domestic violence early access to their super.
More security for women
The details surrounding this new initiative will be discussed during Australia’s first ever women’s economic security statement, which is being delivered by the minister, and mum of two, today at the National Press Club in Canberra.
According to SBS news, the minister said that while Australia has vastly improved women’s economic independence and security in the past few decades with more women working than ever before; issues still remain such as women earning less than men, retiring with 42 percent less super, and being twice as likely to work part-time.
“Even though we have come a long way, we still want Australian women to be able to do even better,” said Ms O’Dwyer, as reported by SBS.
“We want to ensure that women can build their financial security to help them choose their own path so they and their families can live their best lives.”
The $109 million plan
The core focus of the new plan will be to encourage more women in the workforce while also increasing their earning potential and giving them more economic independence and support. As part of this, there will be new changes to the paid parental leave scheme which will give mums (and dads) more financial support.
The current scheme:
- Parents need to have worked a minimum of 330 hours over 10 months in the 13 months prior to the birth of their child, with a break of no more than eight weeks between two working days.
The new scheme:
- Parents will now still qualify for paid leave even if they had a break from work for up to 12 months (fantastic for those who may have taken time off to go through IVF), and can move their assessed work period too if a workplace hazard forced them to stop work early.
- Families will now also be able to split their parental leave period into blocks, for more flexibility. You need to take 12 weeks initially, however, the remaining six weeks can be claimed later on as long it’s within two years of the birth or adoption.
Read more about working mums:
- How parenthood continues to cost women more than men
- Worried about your career break? Here’s how to focus on the big picture instead
- The most common fears for women returning to work – and how to get past them
In addition to changes to paid parental leave, the coalition is also now going to allow victims of domestic and family violence early access to their superannuation to help ease the cost of living – wonderful news for those mums who are afraid to leave their partners because of lack of finances.
And extra funding is being put towards legal support for domestic violence victims so they won’t have to be directly cross-examined by their attackers in court.
The minister, and hard-working mama of two little ones, will also be announcing new programs designed to encourage female entrepreneurs.
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