Teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers across the State will be encouraged to share childcaring responsibilities between partners under an overhaul of the NSW Government’s paid parental leave scheme, announced as part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

From October, there will no longer be a distinction between a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ carer, meaning every mother and father in the public sector will be entitled to at least 14 weeks’ paid parental leave.

The NSW Government will also offer parents an additional 2 weeks’ ‘bonus leave’ if paid parental leave entitlements are more equally shared between partners.

This initiative is about supporting families by allowing them to share child care responsibilities and is part of recognising that both parents deserve the ability to choose a career, have a family or have both.

The NSW Government will also expand the window in which public servants can take paid parental leave from one year to two years after birth, and extend paid parental leave to long-term or permanent foster carers.

The ‘bonus leave’ scheme is one of the first of its kind in Australia and will apply where each parent (including parents employed outside the public sector) takes at least 12 weeks’ parental leave and exhausts any paid parental leave offered by their employers. Single parents will be entitled to the full 16 weeks of paid parental leave.

The paid parental leave reform comes following the NSW Government’s recent announcement that it will start offering workers in the public sector five days’ fertility leave, recognising the time demands of IVF and other reproductive treatments.