The Federal Government announced last week it would back recommendations by the Productivity Commission for parents, including same-sex couples, to receive 20 weeks paid parental leave.

The scheme would allow mothers (or gay fathers) 18 weeks leave at the minimum wage rate of $544 per week. Partners would also be allowed two weeks additional leave.

Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Stephen Jones welcomed the proposal saying it’s a positive move to recognise same-sex parents.

-œAny move by governments to provide benefits or stability of income and protection of the child and family unit is welcome, he told Southern Star.

-œThis proves the Government’s commitment to recognising families and structure in the reality of same-sex families, and give us the legal entitlements we deserve.

The proposal was also welcomed by federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, however she said Australia still has a long way to go to match schemes offered by countries such as the United Kingdom which currently provides 39 weeks paid leave.

-œI am particularly pleased to see a proposal that funds a non-transferable two week period of leave for fathers and same-sex partners -” this is critical for helping dads and supporting parents bond with their children and support mums, Broderick said in a statement.

Rainbow Families spokesperson Felicity Marlowe also welcomed the proposal.

-œOf course we welcome changes that recognise we need to have time off to be with our new baby, she said.

-œWe’re all working families -” we all worry about having time off and being able to take time off with our families.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has since put the brakes on the scheme saying families may have to wait until 2010 before changes are introduced due to world financial instability.

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