In America, we don’t have even have nationwide paid maternal leave. We just have the Family And Medical Leave Act, which ensures three months of unpaid job-protected leave for a new mom. Look and learn, folks, because Australia is putting us all to shame: starting in 2013, Aussies will have the Dad And Partner Leave plan, which guarantees two weeks of paid leave at minimum wage (around $630) for the father or same-sex partner after a baby is born. Australia already has paid parental leave which gives 18 weeks of paid leave at minimum wage for one parent.
Although the minimum wage aspect is not ideal for either plan, it’s so commendable that the country is helping to make it possible for parents to both be at home during those early new-baby days. Why, just look at how overwhelmed this mommy koala is at having to do all the childcare work herself!
Australian Minister for Families, Community Services, and Indigenous Reform Jenny Macklin introduced the plan in a post on the Aussie mom blog, MamaMia:
[W]e know dads want to do more. While it’s still uncommon for dads to take a year out from work to look after the baby, today’s dads are generally more involved around the home. However, they’re often doing this on top of their work commitments, and if they want to take any time off after their baby is born it usually involves taking unpaid leave.