The Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce is urging the Government to expand paid parental leave to 52 weeks.
The Government is currently seeking to legislate an increase to paid parental leave from 20 to 26 weeks.
However, the task force recommended further changes to encourage both parents in two parent families to take leave.
Senator Katy Gallagher, the Minister for Finance and Women, established the taskforce.
It included policy experts and representatives from unions and business groups, and was asked to make independent recommendations to promote gender economic equality.
Australian women who work full-time earn 13% less than their male counterparts. The Taskforce estimated that current barriers to full gender equality cost the economy $128 billion per year.
It noted that Australian women were less likely to work full-time than women in other developed countries.
When it comes to unpaid care and housework, the Taskforce said women perform eight hours more per week than men.
The Taskforce made several recommendations, including universal childcare, better pay for childcare workers, and superannuation payments on government-funded paid parental leave.
It proposed the government expand paid parental leave to 52 weeks at the level of the employee’s wage, not the minimum wage.
Senator Gallagher welcomed the “important” recommendations in the report but did not make specific commitments to adopt them.
She said the Government would “like to continue to improve” paid parental leave beyond its currently commitment of 26 weeks, but added “we’ve got to find room in the Budget to do that”.