Australian Government report on economic equality

The government created entity, Women Economic Equality Taskforce (WEET), was recently commissioned to investigate and publish a report about the current state and future recommendations relating to economic equality for women. WEET is an independent group which has been established to provide advice to the government to support the advancement of women’s economic equality, and achieve gender equity.

The recently released report entitled, “Women’s Economic Equality: A 10-year plan to unleash the full capacity and contribution of women to the Australian economy.”, delivered a 10 year plan to alleviate the economic gender inequality in Australia.

This report will be submitted to the government for consideration as they develop a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality, which is scheduled to be released in 2024.

The report’s findings covered a range of immediate and long-term solutions which cover aspects relating to caring responsibilities, work, education and skills, the tax and transfer system, as well as government processes.

Why do we need to investigate gender equality in Australia?

Multiple reports confirm that women typically make significant and long-term adjustments to their paid employment after having children. This is in comparison to men’s employment which largely remains unchanged. By putting legislative measures and support in place, this provides more pathways, accessibility and opportunities for women to re-engage with the workforce, in addition to providing economic and financial stability.

Considered solutions include tax offsets and increasing the amount of paid parental leave Australia

The first long-term solution which was recommended in the report was to introduce a tax offset for people with caring responsibilities who are re-entering the workforce. This would apply to those who act as the primary carer to children, which as it currently stands is predominantly women. By introducing this tax offset, it would lower the barrier for entry for women to come back into the workforce and relieve financial hardship.

Perhaps one of the more considerable long-term solutions which has seen a greater discussion, is to gradually increase Paid Parental Leave in Australia to a total of 52 weeks, over a 10 year period. This increase would assist in preventing financial hardship for women after having children. We are already seeing this play out in recent amendments to this legislation.

Changes to Paid Parental Leave Scheme as well as Dad and Partner Pay

On 1 July 2023, new legislation came into effect which changed the Paid Parental Leave Scheme. According to this legislation, partnered couples that have children born or adopted from 1 July 2023 can claim up to 20 weeks paid parental leave between them. Previously, paid parental leave had a limit of 18 weeks and had an additional 2 week “Dad and Partner” pay.

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