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Paid Parental Leave Necessary For Equality


25 July 2001

Paid Parental Leave Necessary For Workplace Equality

The Human Rights Commission supports the implementation of paid parental leave as it improves equity for women in the workforce and benefits society as a whole.

“Initiatives to promote women’s equality in the labour market are an important part of building a fair and inclusive society,” said Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan, at a Paid Parental Leave rally outside the Commission today.

“The role of parenting, for both women and men, should be acknowledged and valued in the workplace”.

One of the Commission’s functions is to advise government on what international conventions should be adopted. Two significant international conventions clearly obligate state parties to implement paid parental leave schemes. These are:

- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which requires governments to introduce maternity leave with pay.

- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 which calls for 14 weeks paid maternity leave at a level “which ensures that the woman can maintain herself and her child in proper conditions of health and with a suitable standard of living”.

“Along with the ILO Convention, the Commission recognises that difficulties can arise for some businesses, especially smaller ones, if they are called on to fund this scheme” said Noonan.

The ILO Convention says “an employer shall not be individually liable for the direct cost of any such monetary benefit to a woman employed by him or her without that employer’s specific agreement”.

“Businesses, and the economy generally, ultimately gain from paid parental leave schemes as they protect employers’ investments in their employees and improve employee motivation, loyalty and efficiency,” said Noonan.

ENDS

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