Miles Government leads nation with new reproductive health leave entitlements

  • Miles Government marks Labour Day with new workplace entitlements
  • Queensland public sector workers will get 10 days of reproductive health leave and have superannuation contributions paid on all parental leave – paid and unpaid
  • Around 265,000 Queensland workers set to benefit
  • Government calling on private sector to follow their lead

The Miles Government has marked Labour Day by announcing new workplace entitlements for Queensland public sector workers, including a nation leading 10 days of reproductive health leave.

The leave can be used for things like fertility and IVF treatment; chronic reproductive health conditions like endometriosis; preventative screening for things like breast and prostate cancers; and other treatments associated with reproductive health like hysterectomies and vasectomies. It will be in place no later than the end of September this year.

The Government will also begin to pay superannuation to those on unpaid parental leave to ensure new parents – and especially women – are not left with gaps in their retirement savings. Currently, superannuation is only paid during periods of paid parental leave.

The 2023 Queensland Gender Equality Report Card shows that the average superannuation balance gap between men and women was 19.8% (2020-21 data) and only 13.9 per cent of Queensland women can rely on their superannuation as their main source of retirement income.

From July this year, superannuation will be paid for every single week of the entire 52-week period of parental leave for Queensland public sector employees, whether the leave is paid or not.

The government has no legislative power over the leave and superannuation arrangements of the private sector, but previous government policies – such as the country’s first paid domestic and family violence leave – have been taken up by other employers and in other jurisdictions.

The Queensland LNP has consistently opposed improvements Queensland workers’ entitlements and protections including voting against the introduction of paid domestic and family violence leave, the nation’s first Labour Hire Licensing laws, and industrial manslaughter laws.

Quotes attributable to Premier Steven Miles:

“Today, Queensland makes history.

“My government will lead the nation in introducing 10 days of reproductive health leave for all Queensland public sector workers.

“This means the women and men on our hardworking frontline have access to dedicated leave for things like IVF, endometriosis, vasectomies or reproductive cancer screening.

“I don’t think it’s good enough that the primary caregiver, predominantly women, are disadvantaged at retirement.

“That’s why my government will begin to pay superannuation to those in the public sector on all parental leave, paid and unpaid, to ensure the ongoing economic security of new parents, especially women.

“As Queensland’s largest employer, I am proud my government is leading the way when it comes to supporting workers and their families.

“It builds on other nation leading policies we’ve introduced, like the first paid domestic and family violence leave, which has since been taken up by other employers.

“It’s clear on Labour Day and every day: Queensland workers are better off with Labor in government.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace:

“We know the financial challenges that new parents can face, particularly with the national cost-of-living pressures everyone is experiencing at the moment.

“No mums or dads should look back at their super statements and see big gaps where they had to stop saving for their future retirement dreams because they were taking care of their children – especially women, who are disproportionately impacted by this.”

“So, from July this year, superannuation will be paid to Queensland public sector workers for every single week of the entire 52-week period of parental leave, whether the leave is paid or not.

“I make no secret of my ambition for the Queensland Government to be the employer of choice in this state, and I hope to see other organisations follow our lead when it comes to backing Queensland workers.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman:

“Many working Queensland women face multiple barriers to accessing healthcare when they need it, by providing the opportunity to have paid leave will ensure they are not forgoing their health.

“We know women are disproportionately disadvantaged at retirement, and this will significantly help to minimise those financial challenges.

“Just 13.9 per cent of Queensland women are able to rely on their superannuation as their main source of retirement income, and that is simply not good enough.

“I am extremely proud to be part of the Miles Government, leading the nation in workplace entitlements and breaking down barriers for women now and into the future.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Unions General Secretary Jacqueline King:

“Today’s announcement is a massive win for Queensland workers and will help to attract and retain the thousands of nurses, teachers and police required to deliver services right across our growing state by promoting the Government as an employer of choice.

“Queensland Unions have been calling for the introduction of ten days paid reproductive health leave for all workers through the ‘Its for Every Body’ campaign because reproductive health can affect every body, at every stage of their working lives and can have negative impacts on their capacity to work.

“Reproductive leave is an industrial matter, a work health and safety matter, and a community wide issue and will help individual workers and their families better balance their work and other responsibilities, including their reproductive health.

“We also welcome the extension of superannuation to unpaid periods of parental leave which will help to reduce the gender pay gap and recognise the value of primary and secondary caregivers returning to the workplace after their leave”.

Quotes attributable to AWU Queensland Secretary Stacey Schinnerl:

“As a mother of two sets of twins conceived through IVF, this is a really special announcement.

“My husband and I undertook multiple difficult and painful procedures as part of our IVF journey, and while we were lucky to have supportive employers throughout that time, too many men and women have had to use their sick leave, recreational leave or unpaid leave to pursue their dream of having a family.

“This announcement will mean that workers in the public service will no longer have to exhaust their personal leave balances in order to address reproductive health issues, which will mean sick leave can be kept for when you are sick.

“It is also great to see that this announcement isn’t gendered – men will be able to access this leave for a range of different men’s health procedures, such as prostate exams, vasectomies and IVF preparation and participation.

“The Government paying superannuation on all parental leave is a significant step in the right direction toward achieving parity between men and women retiring with dignity.”

Quotes attributable to Jess Taylor, CEO QENDO:

“This measure is pivotal in tackling gender imbalances in retirement savings, ensuring that all caregivers receive uninterrupted superannuation contributions during parental leave, regardless of their employment status.

“At QENDO, we understand the profound impact of reproductive health struggles on people’s lives. This policy enables workers to prioritise their health and family planning requirements, including fertility treatments, managing chronic conditions, and accessing crucial screenings.

“While applauding the government’s initiative, we call on the private sector to follow suit, demonstrating a commitment to progressive support for employee well-being and workplace equity.”

Quotes attributable to Melanie Sibson, Managing Director of Queensland Fertility Group:

“Queensland Fertility Group has had the privilege of helping thousands of Queenslanders to start their families since 1986.

“Starting a family is a deeply personal journey and for many people it is a process that can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.

“Paid reproductive health leave will reduce the stress and make it easier for many people to achieve the joy of starting their own families.

“Employers should develop awareness about reproductive health and where possible provide flexibility and support to their staff through this journey.”

/Public Release. View in full here.