Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Parental Leave Bill 2013: Committee Stage
I am also of the view that in section 3 the current Short Title is misleading and incorrect. The Bill does not have any implications for paternal leave so I am unsure as to why it is in the Title. Any change to the Short Title might also have implications for the Long Title which only addresses current maternity leave legislation.
I note the proposed amendments which would include adoptive leave within the Bill. However, most of the provisions would apply to adoptive leave also as well as to same-sex couples. I cannot support the amendment because we have not had time to examine it in detail but neither do I wish to formally oppose it or vote it down. As with every other provision in the Bill we will need to review it and come back with substantial amendments on Report Stage. I suggest that the Senator might agree to hold the two amendments back until Report Stage so that we could have a full discussion in light of the overall approach of the Bill the Government will bring forward. We need to design an approach that will work and we need a full impact assessment on the amendment Bill.
The current Bill takes a very rigid approach to the sharing of maternity leave. The approach is that the leave would have to be shared without any consultation with the mother. I know that is not what is intended but Senator White knows what happens when the experts start to look at the details.