The new law regarding paid parental leave has passed and will increase the duration of parental leave payments over three years and in two stages:
- an increase from 18 to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018
- a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.
The extension aims to support working families with newborns and young children and help reduce financial stress. It will allow more time for bonding with their children for those carers who are not in a position to take additional unpaid leave. It will also help facilitate exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (as recommended by the World health Organisation.
The changes also extend the Keeping in Touch days from 40 to 52 hours from 1 July 2018, and to 64 hours from 1 July 2020. This will help support workers who may be away from their workplace for a longer period to still maintain contact with their employer and keep abreast of any changes, and for the employer to continue to be connected with their employee.