Parental leave and support for caring

Improved access to paid parental leave*

Although the provision of employer-funded paid parental leave reached a six-year high, over 50% of employers still provide NO access to employer-funded paid parental leave.  Access to paid parental leave is highly dependent on the size and industry of the employer.

  • In 2018-19, the number of employers offering paid parental leave for primary carers increased by 1.6pp to 49.4%.
  • 43.8% of employers offered paid parental leave for secondary carers – an increase of 2.0pp.
  • Women account for 93.5% (down 1.4pp from 2017-18) of all primary carer’s leave utilised with men accounting for only 6.5% (up 1.4pp).
  • Overall, women account for 71.5% (down 0.7pp) of all parental leave while men comprise the remaining 28.5% (up 0.7pp).

Primary carer’s leave is most commonly available in large organisations: 74.5% of organisations with 5000+ employees offer it, compared with 43.8% of organisations with fewer than 250 employees.

2019 Scorecard table 4 - parental leave by org size

Length of paid primary carer’s leave

Of those employers offering paid primary carer’s leave, 7-12 weeks is the most common length of leave period (19.9%). Only 4.0% of employers offer 18 or more weeks of paid primary carer’s leave.

2019 Scorecard chart 11 - weeks of parental leave offered

Improved results on support for caring

There is solid growth in organisations reporting they have a formal policy or strategy to support employees with family and caring responsibilities (up 2.2pp to 66.5%). The proportion of employers offering non-leave based measures to support employees with caring responsibilities also increased (up 1.5pp to 55.2%).

  • Of those employers that provide support, the most common non-leave based measures are breastfeeding facilities (69.4%) and referral services to support employees with family and/or caring responsibilities (52.4%).
  • Just 10.8% of these employers offer on-site childcare, 7.5% offer employer-subsidised childcare and 7.3% offer return to work bonuses on return from parental leave.

Parental Leave by Industry

Increased access to paid parental leave in most industries

  • Paid primary carer’s leave is most commonly offered in Education and Training (79.2%) and Financial and Insurance Services (76.4%).
  • Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services remains in the top three (75.5%) despite a 3.2pp drop since 2016-17.
  • Paid primary carer’s leave is least frequent in Retail Trade (21.3%) and Accommodation and Food Services (20.6%).
2019 Scorecard table 5 - parental leave by industry


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