Labour Relations Minister Cheryl Edwardes said a Coalition initiative on paid parental leave was aimed at gender equality amongst State Government employees.
As part of the Coalition policy platform launched yesterday, primary care givers would be paid for the first six weeks after the birth of a new child.
“As one of the State’s biggest employers with more than 107,000 employees, the State Government is leading by example on this family-friendly policy,” Mrs Edwardes said.
“This is an important policy because it gives the primary care giver, whether the male or female partner, six weeks’ paid parental leave.
“This is a significant initiative that recognises the value of parenting and supports families.
“Currently there is an entitlement for 52 weeks of parental leave for State Government employees following the birth of a child. Under the new policy, the primary care giver will be paid for the first six weeks of their parental leave.”
Mrs Edwardes said the Government would phase-in the paid parental leave over the next three years.
From March 1 this year, Government employees would be entitled to two weeks’ paid parental leave. From January 1, 2002, they would be entitled to four weeks’ parental leave and six weeks’ paid leave from January 1, 2003.
Under the scheme, Government employees would be able to take 12 months off to care for their newborn child, made up of paid and unpaid leave.
“The phase-in style of parental leave allowance will cost about $3 million in the first year and $9.6 million when the full six weeks’ entitlement is in operation,” Mrs Edwardes said.
“This will be a particular boon for Government employees including nurses, police officers, administrative staff and many others who do not have any paid entitlement at the moment.
“I am sure they will appreciate the extra help six weeks’ paid leave will give them when their new baby is born.”
A number of Government agencies already have some form of paid parental leave including Agriculture Western Australia, Department of Land Administration, Department of Productivity and Labour Relations, Ministry of Fair Trading, Education Department of Western Australia, Ministry of Justice and Western Australian Tourism Commission.
Media contact: Steve Manchee on 9421 7777