Retailers welcome paid parental leave expansion

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s expansion of the paid parental leave scheme as an important measure to improve gender equality and boost women’s workforce participation.

CEO Paul Zahra said the ARA applauds the Government’s move to bring this scheme more into line with best global practice and increase the flexibility of the scheme for all working parents.

“Whilst the scheme is structured to encourage shared access by men and women, women remain the primary carers of young children and stand to benefit greatly from the move. In time, it will also enable more working dads to take on the role of primary carer so that working mums can return to the workforce sooner, if they wish to. It will also improve confidence and security to single parents that may have no other income support mechanisms,” Mr Zahra said.

“Retail is a sector that employs one of the highest percentages of women, and we welcome the confidence this will give to women to take on work knowing they are assured of having this important period covered. This will not only help with improved workforce participation, but also ultimately boost productivity and economic outcomes.”

Ahead of the Federal Budget later this month, the ARA has called for immediate measures to boost workforce participation including improvements to childcare access.

“Retail is in the midst of a crippling labour and skills crisis with over 46,000 vacancies within retail currently – a significant increase over the previous quarter. This announcement, alongside some of the positive developments out of the Jobs and Skills Summit, will help improve workplace participation by many under-represented cohorts,” Mr Zahra said.


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About us: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the oldest, largest and most diverse national retail body, representing a $400 billion sector that employs 1.3 million Australians and is the largest private sector employer in the country. As Australia’s peak retail body, representing more than 120,000 retail shop fronts and online stores, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies our independent, national and international retail community. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive member benefits and more, visit



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