Maternity leave focus may cloud other issues
The focus on paid maternity leave may lead to other issues of work and family being overlooked or forgotten, according to the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (ACCER).
The Catholic Weekly reports that in a submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry into paid maternity leave, the ACCER says the discussion should move beyond the parameters of paid maternity leave for employees to a "comprehensive examination of the current and future measures necessary for families to be supported".
It is the responsibility of government to assist families irrespective of employment status, the Catholic body says.
The discussion must recognise the role of the 'primary care giver'.
John Ryan, executive officer of the Commission for Employment Relations, told The Catholic Weekly he is not opposed to maternity leave but feels that the issue requires closer examination.
"What we're saying is: 'Let's have a careful look at what needs to be introduced, whether the best way of assisting families is paid maternity leave or some other form of assistance'," he said.
The Employment Relations Commission would be in favour of a 'universal assistance scheme' for families, looking beyond women in the workforce.
"Our first principle is to assist families irrespective of whether people may be in paid employment," Mr Ryan said.
ACCER | Submission to the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation Committee inquiry into the Workplace Relations Amendment (Paid Maternity Leave) Bill 2002 (PDF) | Submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission - Valuing Parenthood. Options for Paid Maternity Leave: Interim Paper 2002 (PDF)
31 Jul 2002