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Valuing Parenthood - Part A

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Valuing Parenthood - Options for Paid Parental Leave: Interim Paper 2002

Part A: Background - Working and Having Children in Australia

CHAPTER
1: What is paid maternity leave?

1.1
Introduction
1.2 A work related entitlement
1.3 Maternity leave and parental leave
1.4 Funding paid maternity leave

CHAPTER
2: Overview of current maternity leave arrangements

2.1
Introduction

2.2 Women, work and children in Australia
2.3 Existing maternity leave arrangements
2.4 Government payments to parents
2.5 Lack of statistical information


CHAPTER
1: What is paid maternity leave?

1.1
Introduction

The desirability
and nature of a national system of paid maternity leave is still being
debated in Australia. This paper is a contribution towards that debate.
In order to provide an effective starting point for a discussion of
paid maternity leave options, the paper relies on an understanding of
paid maternity leave as a workplace entitlement - a payment made to
women that compensates for lost income at the birth of a child. The
paper acknowledges that the Federal Government already provides various
forms of support to women and families around childbirth; this paper
is, in part, an attempt to identify what needs remain that a paid maternity
leave scheme could usefully meet.

This chapter explores
the characteristics of paid maternity leave and sets out the starting
point for discussion in the paper. In particular, this chapter outlines
the basis for a presumption in favour of paid maternity leave as a work
related entitlement for women and the possible funding sources for such
a scheme. One purpose of this paper is to open debate on the preferred
scope and coverage of any future paid maternity leave scheme. The basic
characteristics of paid maternity leave will therefore be discussed
in detail at Chapter 10. Submissions are welcome on any of the points
raised in this chapter.

1.2
A work related entitlement

This paper is concerned
primarily with paid maternity leave as a work related entitlement and
as such focuses on women in the workforce and intending to return to
work. One reason for considering paid maternity leave as a work related
entitlement for women is that women's reproductive and parenting functions
place them at a disadvantage relative to men in the workplace in terms
of remuneration, appointment and promotion. [2] In
particular, childbirth and the period shortly after constitute significant
periods of absence from the workforce or reduced labour force activity.
A system of paid maternity leave would go some way to addressing disadvantage
and acknowledging the needs of women in the workforce who also bear
and raise children. Women have high levels of attachment to the labour
force in their prime child bearing years. Currently 70.8 per cent of
women aged 25-34 participate in the labour force. [3] This suggests that an effective system of support for maternity will
be one that recognises the impact of paid work on the way women manage
motherhood. These issues are discussed further in Chapter 7.

Further support
for a system of paid maternity leave as a work related entitlement comes
from the existence of current paid maternity leave provisions, which
are tied to employment and offered primarily to women, but which are
piecemeal and unevenly distributed throughout the workforce. The role
of paid maternity leave in redressing women's workplace disadvantage
and overcoming the current distribution of paid leave is further discussed
in Chapter 6.

An additional reason
for considering paid maternity leave as a work related entitlement is
current international standards. Paid maternity leave or an equivalent
form of compensation or benefit is acknowledged as a workplace right
in international instruments such as the International Labour Organization's Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (ILO 183) [4] and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW). [5] This international acknowledgement
of the need for paid maternity leave is based on the health and welfare
needs of new mothers as well as the financial disadvantage maternity
confers upon women as the bearers and, for the most part, primary carers
of children. Paid maternity leave as an international human right is
further discussed in Chapter 3.

Finally, paid maternity
leave as a work related entitlement has benefits for individual employers,
the economy and society which are discussed in Chapters 8 and 9.

Any discussion
of paid maternity leave also impacts on broader issues of work and family,
and the support that society provides to all parents at the time of
the birth of a child. It is beyond the scope of this paper to look at
all work and family issues or all forms of maternity assistance provided
to women. It should not be construed from this approach that the interests
of mothers not in paid work are less important. Certainly this paper
assumes that non-working mothers should receive appropriate financial
support. Submissions are welcome, for example, on whether or not it
can be argued that the needs of non-working mothers should be considered
separately from those of working mothers.

1.3
Maternity leave and parental leave

Maternity leave
is a period of paid or unpaid leave from the workplace that is available
to women at child birth, or upon the adoption of a child, as opposed
to parental leave which is available to either parent. This paper makes
a presumption in favour of maternity leave as the starting point for
discussion. This presumption is made in recognition of current laws
and practices favouring maternity leave; the fact that women bear children
and breastfeed; the fact that women are overwhelmingly the primary carers
of babies and are the most likely to suffer financial and career detriment
following child birth. It also reflects the significance afforded to
maternity under international instruments.

Debates about the
relative merits of paid maternity leave and parental leave are acknowledged.
The need for fathers to be active and fully engaged parents is an important
consideration. This issue is further discussed in Chapter 10.

1.4
Funding paid maternity leave

The description
of paid maternity leave as a work related entitlement often leads to
the inference that it is the financial responsibility of employers.
However, paid maternity leave may be financed by government, employers,
employees or a combination of each.

In fact, most countries
fund maternity leave through a combination of government, employer and
employee contributions. This ranges from an entirely government funded
scheme as in the United Kingdom and New Zealand to European social insurance
schemes which involve contributions from employers, employees and government.
Further along the spectrum are countries such as the Bahamas which provide
for a 60-40 government-employer funded scheme and Haiti and Jamaica
where the employer is mandated to be entirely responsible. Australia
has mandated a generous period of unpaid leave to women employees who
meet certain threshold criteria, but currently makes no other requirement
of employers.

The International
Labour Organization does not support a funding model for paid maternity
leave in which employers are individually and directly liable for payments
to employees unless such an arrangement is negotiated at the national
level. [6] This is discussed further at Section 3.2.3.

This paper is neutral
about the preferred means of funding a paid maternity leave scheme,
acknowledging the importance of stakeholders' views on this crucial
point. Examples of various approaches by other countries to funding
paid maternity leave are discussed in Chapter 4 and a number of options
for funding a paid maternity leave system in Australia are discussed
in Chapter 11.

CHAPTER
2: Overview of current maternity leave arrangements

2.1
Introduction

This section of
the paper provides an overview of available information on the ways
in which women combine work, childbirth and the care of young children
and current arrangements for both paid and unpaid maternity leave in
Australia. More detailed information is included in Appendix A to this
paper.

This information
provides a useful backdrop for considering

  • the relevance
    of paid maternity leave as a means for supporting women to better
    combine work and family responsibilities;
  • the likely number
    of women who would access paid maternity leave; and
  • the gap between
    existing arrangements and a national system of paid maternity leave.

2.2
Women, work and children in Australia

Women in Australia
combine work and family differently, at childbirth and across their
lifetimes. The majority of women (70.8 per cent) in the key childbearing
years of 25-34 participate in the labour force. [7] While the trend in the number of women participating in the labour force
continues to increase, [8] the number of children being
born per woman has been falling since 1961. [9] Australia's
total fertility rate has fallen significantly during the last century,
and is currently below the replacement rate. [10] Women with higher income and educational attainment are likely to have
few or no children. [11]

The presence and
age of young children has a direct impact on women's employment. Only
two in five women with one child are in the labour force when that child
is aged less than 12 months. [12] Women are less likely
to work as the number of young children they have increases. Thirty
three per cent of women with two or more children aged less than five
years are in the labour force compared with 53 per cent of women with
one child aged less than five years. [13] Women in
couple families with young children are significantly more likely to
participate in the labour force than female sole parents with young
children. [14]

Women increase
their labour force participation as their children get older. Women
with one child aged 3-4 years have the same participation rate as women
with one child of primary school age. [15]

Older studies have
also shown that women are more likely to return to work if they are
in work at the time of pregnancy. [16]

These data show
that the presence of young children in a family does affect women's
employment decisions, with women less likely to work if they have very
young children, a number of pre-school aged children or if they are
a sole parent. In addition, there is a distinct group of women who are
choosing not to have children in preference to careers.

More
detailed information is included in Appendix A to this paper.

2.3
Existing maternity leave arrangements

Australia currently
has a variety of arrangements in place for maternity leave, as outlined
below. While Australia's unpaid maternity leave arrangements are reasonably
generous by international standards, existing paid maternity leave arrangements
are limited, haphazard and fall significantly below what could be considered
a national system. More detailed information is included in Appendix
A to this paper.

2.3.1 Unpaid maternity leave

Legal provisions

The Workplace
Relations Act
1996 (Cth) is the primary legislative instrument at
the federal level which regulates employee entitlements. Under the Workplace
Relations Act, permanent full time and part time employees who have
12 months continuous service with their employer have a minimum entitlement
to 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave following the birth or adoption
of a child. Except for one week, parents cannot take leave simultaneously
as it is designed for the primary care-giver. Employees taking unpaid
parental leave have a right to return to the position they held prior
to taking leave, or to one nearest in status. [17] State legislation generally mirrors the federal provision. [18]

In May 2001, an
Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) decision granted access
to unpaid parental leave to federal award-covered casual employees employed
on a 'regular and systematic basis for several periods of employment
or on a regular or systematic basis for an ongoing period of employment
during a period of at least 12 months, and [who have] a reasonable expectation
of on-going employment'. [19] This new provision will
be inserted into federal awards on application by the award parties
on an award-by-award basis. Legislation in Queensland and New South
Wales also covers casual employees who have regular, continuous service
with one employer. [20]

Eligibility, take up and
duration

The Australian
Living Standards Study
(ALSS) conducted in 1991-1992 found that
three quarters of women in its full time employee sample were eligible
for parental leave, while the number of eligible part time females was
less than 40 per cent. [21] Part time employees' lack
of eligibility was most likely due to the high proportion of part time
employees who worked on a casual basis. Some 47 per cent of full time
male employees in the sample indicated that they were eligible for parental
leave.

Comprehensive statistics
are not available on the number of women who take unpaid maternity leave
each year. While there were 249 600 births in Australia in 2000, [22] the number of women who took unpaid maternity leave is likely to be
significantly less than this. The figure would need to be adjusted downwards
to account for women not in the labour force, women not eligible for
unpaid maternity leave, and women who choose to resign from employment
or take other forms of leave rather than take maternity leave.

A recent Australian
Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey of women in New South Wales estimated
that 154 900 women aged 18-54 with a child under the age of 15 had taken
unpaid maternity leave in the last five years. [23] ABS statistics on Victoria found that 44 per cent of women who took
a break from employment to have a child took maternity leave. [24]

In addition to
the lack of information on the numbers of women taking unpaid maternity
leave, there is also a lack of information on the duration of leave
for those who do take unpaid maternity leave. A 1998 ABS survey of 232
women with children under six years, employed at the time the survey
was conducted, found that 72 per cent of these women had returned to
work within a year of the birth of their youngest child. [25] However, any leave taken was not necessarily unpaid maternity leave.
A 1988 study by the Australian Institute of Families Studies (AIFS)
found 65 per cent of women who were eligible for, and took, maternity
leave [26] returned to work with the same employer
within the 12 month statutory period. [27]

2.3.2
Paid maternity leave

The most recent
data on paid leave arrangements found that 38 per cent of female employees
reported that they were entitled to paid maternity leave. [28] Therefore, approximately 62 per cent of women in employment do not have
access to paid maternity leave. [29] When these women
have children and by necessity take time away from the workplace, they
receive no compensation for the income they lose. [30] Others may return to the workforce from financial necessity, leaving
very young infants at home.

The 1995 Australian
Workplace Industrial Relations Survey
(AWIRS) found that 34 per
cent of workplaces with more than 20 employees provided some form of
paid maternity leave, potentially covering 36 per cent of employees
working at workplaces with 20 or more employees. [31]

A nation-wide survey
in 2000-01 by Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA)
of firms with more than one hundred employees found that 23 per cent
of employers offered some form of paid maternity leave to employees. [32] The EOWA data suggest some increase in the provision
of paid maternity leave provisions amongst Australia's largest organisations
(from 15 per cent of organisations in 1997 [33] to
23 per cent in 2000-01). However the number of organisations offering
paid maternity leave between 1998-99 and 2000-01 has remained stable
at 23 per cent. [34]

Paid maternity leave by
industrial instrument

In the absence
of any legislated right to paid maternity leave, such leave may be provided
for in awards, agreements or individual workplace policies. Awards and
agreements are industrial instruments that regulate the employment relationship
in terms of pay and conditions of employment. Awards are legally binding
documents that set out the minimum entitlements of employees. Certified
agreements are a form of collective agreement made between an employer
and a group of employees, or a union acting as a representative of the
employees. An Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) is an individual
agreement made between an employer and an employee.

A review of the
top 100 federal awards by coverage of workers, undertaken by the then
Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB),
found that only six awards included provision for paid parental leave. [35]

The Workplace Agreements
Database (WAD) found that, for the period 1997-2001, seven per cent
of all federal certified agreements made provision for paid maternity
leave. [36] For the same period, WAD found that 31
per cent of female employees covered by federal certified agreements
potentially had access to paid maternity leave. [37]

0.7 per cent of
AWAs operating in March 2002 provided for paid maternity leave. [38] The duration of the leave offered was either nine or 12 weeks. [39] This figure is even more negligible when it is considered that AWAs
are generally limited to particular industries and apply to more highly
skilled workers.

In addition to
provision in awards and agreements, access to paid maternity leave may
be provided for in individual company policies. Information about the
extent and operation of company policies providing for paid parental
leave is scant and represents a future area for research.

It is not possible
from the available data to determine which industrial instrument is
most commonly used to provide paid maternity leave. It is clear that
paid maternity leave arrangements have not entered awards and agreements
in any great numbers and that enterprise bargaining has not significantly
increased women's access to paid maternity leave.

Paid maternity leave by
organisation size and type

Available data
suggest that paid maternity leave is predominantly available in the
public sector and larger organisations.

The EOWA survey
found that companies with more than 1,000 employees were more likely
(38 per cent) to offer paid maternity leave than companies with between
100-499 employees (20 per cent). [40]

The AWIRS of workplaces
with more than 20 employees found that paid maternity leave was far
more common in the public sector (59 per cent of workplaces offered
some form of paid maternity leave, potentially covering 57 per cent
of employees) than the private sector (23 per cent of workplaces offered
some form of paid maternity leave, potentially covering 24 per cent
of employees). [41] AWIRS has not been repeated since
1995, leaving a gap in comprehensive information on paid maternity leave
arrangements.

Paid maternity leave by
employment status

The Survey of Employment
Arrangements and Superannuation (SEAS) showed that highly skilled women
in full time work have greater access to paid maternity leave than women
in more marginal employment, with lower skills, and who are in part
time or casual work. SEAS found the form of women's employment had a
significant influence on access to paid maternity leave, with 51 per
cent of women in full time work, 21 per cent of women in part time work
and 0.4 per cent of women in casual employment reporting that they had
access to paid maternity leave. [42]

Paid maternity leave by
occupation

The occupations
with the highest incidence of paid maternity leave are those with high
skill levels and higher education. SEAS found that 65 per cent of managers
and administrators and 54 per cent of professionals had access to paid
maternity leave. [43] In contrast, SEAS found that
the occupations with the lowest incidence of paid maternity leave were
elementary clerical, sales and service workers (18 per cent) and labourers
and related workers (21 per cent). [44]

Paid maternity leave by
industry

EOWA found significant
differences between industries in their research on private sector organisations
with more than 100 employees. EOWA found the following rates of paid
parental leave amongst organisations by industry: 56.4 per cent in the
education sector; 33.5 per cent of property and business services; 30.1
per cent in the finance and insurance industry; 24.9 per cent in the
health and community services industry; 15.4 per cent of manufacturing
companies; 7.4 per cent of transport and storage organisations; 7.2
per cent of retail trade organisations; 5.2 per cent of accommodation,
cafes and restaurants and 4.5 per cent of the wholesale trade organisations. [45]

SEAS found a similar
distribution amongst industries, with industries such as government
administration and defence (68 per cent), finance and insurance (59
per cent) and education (57 per cent) having a higher incidence of paid
maternity leave; while accommodation, cafes and restaurants (13 per
cent), retail (20 per cent) and cultural and recreational services (28
per cent) had a lower incidence. [46]

Duration of paid maternity
leave

Available data
suggest that there are very limited cases in Australia where women receive
the international standard of a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave
and that in many cases available leave falls well short of this standard.
It should be borne in mind that maternity leave may be taken before
and after the birth of the child and usually expectant mothers take
some leave before the birth.

Analysis by the
former DEWRSB of federal agreements certified from January 1997 to June
2001 found that the average duration of paid maternity leave for this
period was approximately six weeks, with the average in 2001 reaching
almost eight weeks. [47] Paid maternity leave provisions
in Certified Agreements ranged from one day to up to 18 weeks, with
the most frequent periods offered being two weeks (39 per cent), six
weeks (21 per cent) and 12 weeks (23 per cent). [48]

Currently operating
AWAs provide paid maternity leave of either nine weeks or 12 weeks. [49] However, it is important to note that women with
AWAs are likely to be more highly qualified than other women in the
workforce and therefore may have increased bargaining power. [50]

For 2000-01, EOWA
found that, amongst organisations with over 100 employees, 41 per cent
of organisations that provide some form of paid maternity leave provided
five to six weeks of leave, [51] while another 33
per cent of these organisations provided nine to 12 weeks of paid maternity
leave. [52]

As was the case
with availability of paid maternity leave, there was also variation
across industries in the average length of paid maternity leave offered.
Amongst federal Certified Agreements in 2001, the communication services
industry offered on average 12 weeks, finance and insurance offered
on average seven weeks, while retail trade and accommodation, cafes
and restaurants both offered an average of four weeks. [53]

In the public sector,
the length of paid leave varies considerably from four weeks in South
Australia to a maximum of 12 weeks at the federal level.

Comprehensive statistics
on the duration of paid maternity leave provided for in individual company
policies are not available.

Take up rate of paid maternity
leave

Statistics are
not available on the number of women who take paid maternity leave each
year or on the length of leave they take.

For the period
1983-84 to 1988, the take up rate for paid maternity leave in the Commonwealth
public sector was 'about 3.3 per cent of the female workforce and approximately
1.3 per cent of the total workforce'. [54]

In 2000, the take
up rate of paid maternity leave for the New South Wales public sector
was 3.3 per cent of the female New South Wales public sector workforce,
representing 1.9 per cent of the total New South Wales public sector
workforce. [55]

The Federated Municipal
and Shire Council Employees Union of Australia, New South Wales Division
has estimated that 'the take-up rate for paid maternity leave is likely
to be around 1.2 per cent of the total local government workforce across
NSW'.

2.3.3
Limitations with the data

A significant limitation
with the majority of available data is that they only record whether
workplaces or agreements provide some form of paid maternity leave.
They do not provide information on the number of women who are actually
eligible for paid maternity leave. Eligibility criteria, such as the
need for 12 months service, mean that many women will not be eligible
for paid maternity leave, even though they may work in organisations
that provide for such leave. Employees that fall outside of these formal
conditions, such as contract workers, will not have access to paid maternity
leave. Similarly, casual employees' limited access to leave entitlements
means that they will generally not have access to paid maternity leave,
even where they work in organisations that offer this type of leave.
This is highlighted by SEAS data which found that only 0.4 per cent
of casual employees had access to paid maternity leave. [57] Further, paid maternity leave may only be offered by an organisation
on a discretionary basis. This means that the figures outlined in this
section of the paper are likely to significantly overstate the availability
of paid maternity leave.

The available data
do not record the number of women who take maternity leave. Even though
paid maternity leave may be available, this does not mean that women
actually use this leave. The take up rate of paid maternity leave is
a crucial factor in determining the effectiveness of workplace provision
of paid maternity leave. A range of factors, such as workplace culture
or fear of affecting career prospects, may mean that women are unwilling
to take paid maternity leave.

Significant gaps
in data collection for arrangements and the availability of paid maternity
leave remain. This limits the ability to assess the effectiveness of
current paid maternity leave provisions. It also places limits on the
ability of policy makers to predict behavioural responses to any changes
in paid maternity leave provisions or to evaluate the effectiveness
of alternative models of paid maternity leave. Future research in this
area is vitally important.

More detailed information
is included in Appendix A to this paper.


QUESTIONS

Q.1 Are
you aware of any more specific information that would assist calculation
of the number of women who are in the Australian workforce at the time
they have a baby?
Q.2 Are
you aware of any more specific information that would assist calculation
of the number of women who are in the Australian workforce who are eligible
for unpaid maternity leave?
Q.3 Is there
an accurate way to estimate take up rates for unpaid or paid maternity
leave under current provisions based on current information about women
and work?
Q.4 Is there
an accurate way to estimate take up rates for unpaid or paid paternity
leave under current provisions based on current information about men
and work?
Q.5 Is it
more likely that women or men would take leave if they were eligible
for payments? Please provide details.

2.4
Government payments to parents [58]

The Federal Government
provides a range of income support payments to families to assist with
the costs of raising children, including newborns. The stated aim of
these payments is to recognise the needs and choices of both single
and dual income families.

Government payments
to parents through allowances and tax benefits are a means of supporting
parents generally with the care of children, rather than directly assisting
women to take leave from work at the time of childbirth. Government
payments to parents are part of the framework of support for maternity
in general and have been included for that reason.

The Human Rights
and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) recognises the need for government
assistance to support the different circumstances of women, including
those in work and those who are full time carers. Paid maternity leave
should not be seen as a replacement to existing government support,
but rather as a modification or addition that would support the needs
of a particular group of women, namely women in employment. Paid maternity
leave is only one of a suite of measures that would ideally be available
to give women real choice in how they care for their children and how
they combine work and family.

Current government
payments to families include the following.

  • Maternity Allowance:
    a means-tested payment of $798.72 to help families with the extra
    costs associated with the birth of a new baby. [59]
  • Maternity Immunisation
    Allowance: a means-tested payment of $208 paid when a child reaches
    18 months old. [60]
  • Family Tax Benefit
    Part A (FTB(A)): a means-tested payment to help families with the
    costs of raising children up to 21 years and young people between
    21 and 24 who are studying full time. Maximum rate of FTB(A) for each
    child aged under 13 years is $122.92 per fortnight or $3 204.70 per
    year. [61]
  • Family Tax Benefit
    Part B (FTB(B)): a payment to provide extra assistance to single income
    families, including sole parents, with children up to 16 years and
    children between 16 and 18 years who are studying full time. The primary
    earner in a partnered relationship and sole parents are not subject
    to an income test. Maximum rate for FTB(B) for a child under 5 years
    is $105.56 per fortnight or $2 752.10 per year. [62]
  • Parenting Payment:
    a means-tested income support payment to assist people, particularly
    low income families with children by providing an independent income. [63]
  • Child Care Benefit:
    means-tested assistance with the cost of child care for long day care,
    family day care, in-home care, occasional care, outside school hours
    care, vacation care and registered care. [64]
  • Proposed Baby
    Bonus (the Taxation Law Amendment (Baby Bonus) Bill 2002 is currently
    before Parliament): a refundable tax offset of up to $2 500 a year
    paid for each of five years following the birth of a child, where
    the primary carer has given up or reduced paid employment to care
    for the child. [65]

More detail on
these payments is provided in Appendix A.

As can be seen
f rom the above descriptions, many of these government payments actually
relate to a significantly larger group of children and young people
than newborns.

Government expenditure
in 2000-01 on Maternity Allowance and Maternity Immunisation Allowance
was $218 million. [66] These payments both constitute
a payment to families to support young children. Government expenditure
in 2000-01 on FTB(A) and FTB(B) was $10.087 billion. [67] While FTB does provide financial assistance to families with young children,
it also extends to much older children. Government spending on the Baby
Bonus is projected to reach $510 million in 2005-06.

Of all government
payments to families, Maternity Allowance comes closest to representing
an alternative to paid maternity leave. However HREOC considers that
$798.72 falls significantly short of the international minimum standard
of 14 weeks paid maternity leave, being less than one week of average
weekly earnings [68] or about four and a half weeks
of unemployment benefits. [69] It is also means-tested
and operates as a welfare measure rather than a work related entitlement.

Existing government
payments to parents recognise the social benefit that accrues from reproduction.
The amount currently provided, however, falls short of income protection
or meeting the costs associated with a newborn child and as such may
not be considered to constitute paid maternity leave.


QUESTIONS

Q.6 Do you
consider that government support for families with newborn children
may be considered to approximate paid maternity leave?
Q.7 Do you
consider that government support for families with newborn children
is appropriately targeted? If not what additional or alternative support
do you consider is required?

2.5
Lack of statistical information

As noted in Section
2.3.3 above, there is a serious lack of statistical information available
about maternity, family responsibilities and work arrangements. In addition,
much of the available information is outdated and limited in scope.
This means that it is difficult to get a clear picture of current arrangements
for maternity leave in Australia. It also places significant limitations
on what can accurately be predicted about future provisions for paid
maternity leave.

In 1999, as part
of the Report of the National Pregnancy and Work Inquiry, Pregnant
and Productive
, HREOC recommended

that the Minister
for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business provide funding
to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner to undertake economic modelling
and analysis of possible paid maternity leave options. The project,
to be conducted in consultation with the Department of Employment,
Workplace Relations and Small Business, would also involve extensive
and close consultation with all relevant and interested parties. [70]

HREOC did not have
additional resources to conduct empirical research for this paper. Future
research in this area is vitally important.


QUESTIONS

Q.8 Do you
have any more information than provided in this paper on current arrangements
that women and their families make to support themselves at the time
of the birth of a new child?

2.
The work of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC),
and particularly the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, has identified
the various ways in which women experience workplace disadvantage. See
for example Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Glass Ceilings
and Sticky Floors
HREOC Sydney 1997; Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Commission Equal Pay Handbook HREOC Sydney 1998; Human Rights
and Equal Opportunity Commission Sexual Harassment: A code of practice HREOC Sydney 1998; Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Pregnant
and Productive: It's a right not a privilege to work while pregnant
HREOC Sydney 2001.
3. ABS 6203.0 Labour Force Australia August 2001,
26.
4. Part 4 International Labour Organisation Convention
Concerning the Revision of the Maternity Protection Convention (Revised)
1952 International Labour Conference (88th: 2000: Geneva Switzerland).
5. Part 11(2)(b) Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
GA Res 180 (XXXIV 1970),
19 ILM 33 (1980).
6. Part 6(8) International Labour Organisation Convention
Concerning the Revision of the Maternity Protection Convention (Revised)
1952 International Labour Conference (88th: 2000: Geneva Switzerland).
7. ABS 6203.0 Labour Force Australia August 2001,
26.
8. ABS 6203.0 Labour Force Australia August 2001,
16.
9. ABS 3301.0 Births Australia 2000, 13.
10. ABS 3301.0 Births Australia 2000, 13.
11. ABS 3301.0 Births Australia 2000, 6.
12. Peter McDonald "Work-family policies are the
right approach to the prevention of low fertility" (2001) 9(3) People and Place, 17-27 at 18.
13. ABS 6224.0 Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics
of Families Australia
June 2000, 16, Table 8.
14. ABS 6224.0 Labour Force Status and Other Characteristics
of Families Australia
June 2000, 5-7.
15. Peter McDonald "Work-family policies are the
right approach to the prevention of low fertility" (2001) 9(3) People and Place, 17-27 at 18.
16 .See for example Australian Institute of Family
Studies Maternity Leave in Australia: Employee and employer experiences
- Report of a survey
Commonwealth of Australia Melbourne 1988,
4.
17. sch 14 cl 12 Workplace Relations Act 1996
(Cth).
18. s 54(1) Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW);
s 18(2) Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld); sch 5 cl 1 Industrial
and Employee Relations Act
1994 (SA); In Tasmania the provisions
of the federal Act apply; sch 1A Workplace Relations Act 1996
(Cth) applies to Victorian workers; s 33 Minimum Conditions of Employment
Act
1993 (WA); s 5 Parental Leave (Private Sector Employees)
Act
1992 (ACT); in the Northern Territory the provisions of the
federal Act will apply.
19. Re Parental Leave - Casual Employees Test Case Print 904631 31 May 2001 (2001) EOC 93-144, para 8.
20. s 53 Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW);
s16(1)(a) Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld).
21. Helen Glezer and Ilene Wolcott Work and Family
Life: Achieving integration
Australian Institute of Family Studies
Melbourne 1995, 37- 8.
22. ABS 3301.0 Births Australia 2000, 8.
23. ABS 4903.1 Managing Caring Responsibilities
and Paid Employment NSW
October 2000, 4.
24. Cited in Bettina Cass "Expanding paid maternity/parental
leave through family income support: Supporting early infant care as
a social responsibility" (1994) Social Security Journal 3-18 at 12.
25. ABS 6254.0 Career Experience Australia November
1998, 23.
26. Maternity leave was defined in this study as 'time
absent from work allowed by employers for an employee to have a baby…'.
No differentiation was made between paid and unpaid maternity leave:
Australian Institute of Family Studies Maternity Leave in Australia:
Employee and employer experiences - Report of a survey
Commonwealth
of Australia Melbourne 1988, 15-16.
27. Australian Institute of Family Studies Maternity
Leave in Australia: Employee and employer experiences - Report of a
survey
Commonwealth of Australia Melbourne 1988, 52.
28. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
29. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
30. As noted at Section 2.4 below, all women will potentially
have access to some welfare based payments at the time of the birth
of a child, which will offset lost income to a limited extent.
31. Alison Morehead et al Changes at Work: The 1995
Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey
Longman Melbourne
1997, 451.
32. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency
2002 unpublished data.
33. Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and
Small Business Work and Family State of Play 1998 Commonwealth
of Australia Canberra 1998, 18.
34. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency
2002 unpublished data.
35. Research provided by the Department of Employment,
Workplace Relations and Small Business dated 7 November 2000.
36. Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Workplace Agreements Database dated 3 April 2002 unpublished
data.
37. Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Workplace Agreements Database dated 28 March 2002 unpublished
data. The large number of employees can in part be explained by the
inclusion of public sector employees with legislated rights to paid
maternity leave.
38. Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research
and Training Agreements Database and Monitor : Report 32 University
of Sydney March 2002, 8.
39. Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research
and Training Agreements Database and Monitor : Report 32 University
of Sydney March 2002, 8.
40. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency
2002 unpublished data.
41. Alison Morehead et al Changes at Work: The 1995
Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey
Longman Melbourne
1997, 451.
42. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
43. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
44. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
45. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency
2002 unpublished data.
46. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
47. Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Workplace Agreements Database dated 3 April 2002 unpublished data.
48. Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Workplace Agreements Database dated 3 April 2002 unpublished
data.
49. Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research
and Training Agreements Database and Monitor : Report 32 University
of Sydney March 2002, 8.
50. Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and
Small Business Work and Family State of Play 1998 Commonwealth
of Australia Canberra 1998, 28. See also the discussion on equity issues
in Chapter 6.
51. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency
2002 unpublished data.
52. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency
2002 unpublished data.
53. Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Workplace Agreements Database dated 3 April 2002 unpublished
data.
54. Submission by the Commonwealth Government of Australia
to the Parental Leave Case Print J3596 26 July 1990 (1990) 36
IR 1 citing Department of Finance Australian Public Service Statistical
Year Book 1987-88
AGPS Canberra; and Department of Finance (2000)
unpublished data in Lyn Fraser Paid Maternity Leave in NSW Local
Government: Employment equity aspects and anticipated take-up rate
Federated Municipal and Shire Council Employees Union of Australia Sydney
2001, 16.
55. See the findings in the unpublished report of the
Office of the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment The
Workforce Profile
cited in Lyn Fraser Paid Maternity Leave in
NSW Local Government: Employment equity aspects and anticipated take-up
rate
Federated Municipal and Shire Council Employees Union of Australia
Sydney 2001, 17.
56. Lyn Fraser Paid Maternity Leave in NSW Local
Government: Employment equity aspects and anticipated take-up rate
Federated Municipal and Shire Council Employees Union of Australia Sydney
2001, 20.
57. ABS 6361.0 Survey of Employment Arrangements
and Superannuation
April - June 2000 unpublished data.
58. This section is drawn from the Centrelink publications
Centrelink
Information: A Guide to Payment and Services 2001-2002
: www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/about_us/centrelink_info.htm;
Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government Payments 20 March -
30 June 2002
: www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm
and from Department of Family and Community Services Annual Report
2000-01
Commonwealth of Australia Canberra 2001.
59. Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government
Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
4.
60. Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government
Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
5.
61. Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government
Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
2.
62. Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government
Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
4.
63. Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government
Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
6.
64. Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth Government
Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
5.
65. Taxation Law Amendment (Baby Bonus) Bill 2002 Explanatory
Memorandum para 1.4.
66. Department of Family and Community Services Annual Report 2000-2001 Commonwealth of Australia Canberra 2001,
42.
67. Spending on FTB(A) and FTB(B) constitutes $10.076
billion delivered via the social security system (Department of Family
and Community Services Annual Report 2000-01 Commonwealth of
Australia Canberra 2001, 42) and $11 million delivered via the tax system
(Treasury Tax Expenditure Statement 2001 Commonwealth of Australia
Canberra 2001, 7). Note that the amount delivered via the tax system
is an estimate for spending in 2000-01 as opposed to the social security
figure which is actual expenditure.
68. Based on average weekly earnings of $848.60. This
figure is the seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings for November
2001 using full time adult ordinary time earnings. See ABS 6302.0 Average
Weekly Earnings November 2001, 5.
69. Based on the single rate of Newstart Allowance
of $369.00 per fortnight. See Centrelink A Guide to Commonwealth
Government Payments 20 March - 30 June 2002:
www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/publications/rate.htm,
11.
70. rec 46, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Pregnant and Productive: It's a right not a privilege to work while
pregnant HREOC Sydney 2001, 229.