The Australian Government Paid Parental Scheme was announced in 2009 to increase mother’s employment while supporting maternal and child health and gender equality. Ten years since this historic decision, research from the NHRMC funded CRE in the Social Determinants of Health Equity underscores how this policy has enabled more equitable and health promoting parental leave as well as supporting workforce participation. It is now time to reflect on the impact of this social policy and what remains to be done. This event aims to provoke debate and explore new ideas on the next steps for paid parental leave.
The Australian National University (NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity at the Menzies Centre for Health Governance, PHXChange at Research School of Population Health and Gender Institute) and Families Australia, in collaboration with scholars from the Work + Family Policy Roundtable, are hosting a public panel discussion on The First 10 Years of Paid Parental Leave – What Have We Learned and Where Are We Heading?
Keynote Address by Ásdís Aðalbjörg Arnalds, University of Iceland
Paid parental leave and strengthening family ties – The case of Iceland
The Nordic countries have a long history of placing emphasis on policies providing both mothers and fathers with the opportunity to work and care. Iceland is a Nordic country which enacted a leave scheme providing both parents with three months of non-transferable leave in 2000 (a so-called mother’s and father’s quota). As Iceland has the longest experience of equal quota rights for both parents, it is of great interest to investigate whether the law has met is aim of ensuring children care from both parents. I will present findings from a study on childcare and labour market participation of children under the age of three in order to provide an example of how the law changed the behaviour of parents in Iceland. Surveys conducted among parents who had their first child before and after the law was enacted revealed that the division of care between parents has become more equal. There is also a correlation between the length of leave taken by fathers and their involvement in care after the leave is over.
Professor Marian Baird AO, University of Sydney, Work + Family Policy Roundtable
- What remains to be achieved
Dr Belinda Townsend, NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity, Menzies Centre for Health Governance, School of Regulation and Global Governance, ANU
– Strategies for parental leave policy advocacy
Dr Liana Leach, Research School of Population Health, ANU
– Fathers care and gender equity
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