Nurses and midwives are big winners in maternity leave changes

Friday 18th June, 2010

Lee Thomas, Australian Nursing Federation assistant secretary welcomes the Senate’s passing of the nation's first paid parental leave scheme saying it would benefit the nursing and midwifery workforce which is made up largely of women.

“The Senate has passed legislation setting up long an overdue paid parental leave scheme,’ she said.

“Female dominated professions have historically been marked by a discriminatory culture where women earn about 15 per cent less and have lower levels of superannuation than their male counterparts. We congratulate the government. The introduction of this legislation is a fantastic outcome for mothers and their families,” she said.

“The government promised it would take gender inequality seriously and it has come through on that promise.”

“Nurses and midwives are predominantly shift workers, finding a childcare centre that operates outside of a 9-5 day is almost impossible. This provision offers support and choice to these women after the birth of their child.”

“And despite being very aware of the benefit of breastfeeding and caring for the newborn full time for at least a year nurses and midwives have been forced to go back to work in order to afford their hefty mortgages and rising grocery prices.”

“This will particularly assist aged care nurses and personal care workers who are some of the lowest paid workers in Australia.”