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The Women’s Economic Security Statement: A Guide For Employers

Published November 29, 2018 (last updated June 3, 2022) -
Womens Economic Security Statement

This week, Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer MP announced a new package aimed at enhancing the financial independence of Australian women, encouraging more women into the workforce and helping them grow their businesses. The package is known as the Women’s Economic Security Statement.

The Package: An Overview

The Women’s Economic Security Statement is built around three pillars:

Measures to increase women’s workforce participation

  • Reinstate the Time Use Survey, a contemporary evidence base to measure women’s economic security.
  • Improvements to Workplace Gender Equality Agency systems to enhance Australia’s gender equality data and reduce the cost of reporting for business.
  • Establish the Reducing Barriers to Work Forum.
  • Increase flexibility in the Parental Leave Pay system and extend access through changes to the work test.
  • Support regional employers through the Career Revive initiative to develop action plans for their business to attract and retain women returning to work after a career break.
  • Scholarships for women in economics and finance through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program.

Measures to support women’s economic independence

  • Specialist Domestic Violence units and Health Justice Partnerships, including for financial support services.
  • Extend early release of superannuation for victims of domestic and family violence.
  • Expand the no Interest Loan Scheme run by Good Shepherd Microfinance to women experiencing family and domestic violence to assist with the expenses of rebuilding their lives, such as rental bonds.
  • Legal assistance funding to ensure victims of family violence are protected from direct cross-examination by their perpetrators in family law matters.
  • Improve the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings.
  • Providing family law property mediation.
  • Establish a new Small Claims Property pilots program.

Measures to improve women’s earning potential

  • Expand the Curious Minds program.
  • Establish a Future Female Entrepreneurs program in partnership with the private sector.
  • A new grants program, Boosting Female Founders to ensure women can access the finance they need to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

Parental Leave Proposals

As part of the package, a suite of changes would be made to Australia’s Parental Leave system. Most notably, the new system parents would no longer have to take paid leave in one consecutive 18-week block. After the first 12 week period, parents would have the ability to break up their remaining Parental Leave in a way that best suits them.

What Does This Mean For Me?

You don’t need to take action just yet. Many of the provisions are still subject to Parliamentary approval. Just be aware that this is part of a longer-term Government strategy, which means that changes to workplace obligations are likely in the future.

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