Australia’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) policy is criticised for not catering to the unique challenges of parents with multiple births. As multiple-birth families grapple with amplified financial and emotional pressures, the call for policy adjustments intensifies.
- Parental Leave Dilemma: Australia doesn’t offer additional PPL provisions for families with twins, triplets, or more. If a parent had children on three occasions, they’d receive three separate maternity leaves. However, this is different for multiple births happening at once.
- AMBA’s Call: The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) is amplifying its demand for the government to revisit parental leave for parents of multiple. According to an AMBA report, among OECD nations, Australia offers the least parental leave support for such parents.
- The Financial Burden: Raising triplets is roughly 13 times costlier than a single child, according to AMBA’s director and mother of triplets, Silje Andersen-Cooke. Moreover, families with multiples frequently deal with challenges like premature births, longer NICU stays, and finding suitable childcare.
- Government’s Response: Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth points to the current aid available, which includes a newborn payment, newborn supplement, and a multiple-birth allowance. Yet, these aids come with income constraints—the multiple-birth allowance yields around $4,500 annually for triplets or $6,000 for quadruplets. However, twin families and those surpassing the Family Tax Benefit income threshold aren’t eligible.
- AMBA’s Stance: Despite some families exceeding the income criteria for assistance, every parent of multiples should receive additional recognition and support, per AMBA.
The big picture: Parents of multiple babies are urging for more encompassing and supportive policies, bringing Australia’s current parental leave policies under close examination. It’s essential to support all families to encourage more family formation and help families achieve fertility and/or adoption goals.