Australia to introduce paid maternity leave: PM


SYDNEY — Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Monday that Australia will introduce paid maternity leave, noting it was time the country adopted a system to reward women for caring for their infants. The Productivity Commission recommended a taxpayer-funded scheme under which the primary carer of a child would receive 18 weeks’ paid maternity leave at the minimum wage rate, now 544 dollars (US$449) a week. Employers currently only have to give women 12 months of unpaid leave when they have a baby.

“We are still some ways off resolving the final policy detail but what I am saying to you loud and clear today is that this Australian government believes the time has come to bite the bullet on this and we intend to do so,” he said.