Mums want extra support

PREGNANT worker Jodie McCoy would receive three times as much paid maternity leave if the federal government acted on the advice of one of its research commissions.

The findings of the Productivity Commission yesterday recommended the government adopt a taxpayer-funded leave scheme which would pay primary care givers at the minimum wage rate for 18 weeks.

Ms McCoy, who is 33 weeks pregnant, is currently entitled to six weeks' paid maternity leave from her job, but will take a year off to raise her first child.

"I would take two years off if I could," the 25-year-old Kirra resident said.

"More than 18 weeks of paid maternity leave would be fantastic. I will be budgeting my $5000 baby bonus over the 12 years at the moment."

The mum-to-be yesterday said the federal government's look into paid maternity leave would benefit the country.

"It's a start, that's for sure," Ms McCoy said.

"Getting just over $500 a week will be easier to manage then just $5000 straight up.

"If the government wants the country to blossom then this is the way to go."

The findings of the commission will be the basis for a possible national scheme.

The commission recommended that the government adopt a taxpayer-funded leave scheme which would pay the primary care giver at the minimum wage rate, currently $544 a week, or $12,000 in total.

It also recommended the $5000 baby bonus be scrapped.

A local expert on the matter echoes Ms McCoy's statement.

Associate Professor Michelle Wallace from the Graduate College of Management at Southern Cross University said female employees would be more willing to return to work if their employer showed them the loyalty of maternity leave.

"If we are to use all the talent in this country, we need to accommodate women in the workforce," Prof Wallace said.

"Australia and America are the two developed countries that do not have a paid maternity leave across their workforce."

Prof Wallace said the proposed scheme would benefit everyone.

"It's recommended that babies spend the first three years of their life as close to their parents as possible. It's what is best for everyone," she said. "Mothers will also be more willing to return to the workforce."



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