Paternity leave set to benefit all fathers

EXPECTANT fathers can take two weeks paternity leave paid by the federal government after Dad and Partner Pay was introduced yesterday.

Dads and same-sex partners will be eligible for two-weeks paid leave at the national minimum wage, which currently sits at about $606 a week.

The leave must be lodged by families up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption, or within the 12 months following. It is paid directly by the Australian government.

Bendigo’s Joel and Minnie Rockes, who are expecting their second child in under a month, said it was a “huge bonus” for Joel to be able to take extra leave off.

Joel used carer’s and annual leave to take time off after the birth of 20-month-old Evie.

Minnie said it was important to have Joel around as much as possible after the birth of the new baby.

“It’s a good thing to let fathers have time to bond with the baby,” Minnie said.  “It’s also good to have more hands on deck and have extra support around that crazy newborn period. 

“Overall, it’s a huge bonus.”

Minnie said workplaces would also benefit from the extra weeks.

“The benefits outweigh the cost to an organisation,” she said.

“If your partner has just had a child and you go straight back to work, you’re not going to be functioning at 100 per cent.”

Federal Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the scheme was implemented to help people like Joel and Minnie.

“It gives them the opportunity to take leave to look after other children and be there for the new child,” she said.

“It really allows the family time to bond and support each other.”

Ms Chesters said it would also benefit low-paid, casual and part-time workers.

“This is the first time they have had access to parental leave when a new baby is born.”

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