The history of welfare and paid maternity leave in Australia

Publisher:
International Employment Relations Association
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
IERA 2009 17th Annual Conference: Book of Proceedings, 2009, pp. 172 - 196
Issue Date:
2009-01
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Australia has a long tradition of providing women with welfare payments that correlate with maternity and having children. Since 1912, consecutive Australian governments have opted for welfare payments as opposed to opting for legislating universal paid maternity leave. This paper examines the history of welfare and paid maternity leave in Australia by examining the role maternity related welfare and paid maternity leave have played in the Australian context. Consideration is given to the implications maternity related welfare and paid maternity leave have had from the social, political and economical paradigms. The paper concludes that while it is clear that the provision of maternity welfare payment to families presents some obvious benefits, such as lowering infant mortality, maternity welfare does not take into account the implication that having a child can have upon women in paid employment and womens `dual responsibilities.
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