Paid maternity must be in next budget: ACTU


Government-funded paid maternity leave must be introduced in the next federal budget, the peak union group argues

Government-funded paid maternity leave must be introduced in the next federal budget, the peak union group argues.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is pushing for the scheme’s introduction as soon as possible to offset the impact of financial uncertainty gripping world markets.

Burrow made the call at the Hobart Convention Centre today in a speech to the Paid Maternity Leave Forum.

"A paid maternity leave scheme would provide real security at a time when Australian families need all the help they can get to weather the effects of the financial crisis," Burrow says.

"The ACTU says it is imperative that the Productivity Commission’s recent recommendation that the Rudd Government introduce 18 weeks paid maternity leave for all Australian women be included in the 2009 federal budget."

Unless the Rudd Government introduces the scheme by mid 2009, Burrow fears many women will unwillingly return to work after the birth of a baby because of financial stress and uncertainty.

"Most families instantly lose one entire salary when a child is born and the mother takes maternity leave," Burrow says.

According to Burrow, the loss of one salary is proving difficult for families to cope.

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