No one was more excited to see six months paid parental leave on the political agenda than FIRST Union delegate Noreen Faasoa, who works at Kmart Botany Downs. Noreen is a doting mum to 14 month old Hope and is five months pregnant with baby number two.
Noreen was able to take eight months total off work when Hope was born, but says "financially, it was not easy.”
Paid parental leave is currently only fourteen weeks, and even with a top up of another week of paid leave from Kmart, meant that Noreen struggled during the time she was at home with baby. “More weeks paid leave would give me so many more choices and would set both me and baby up better,” said Noreen.
She was very keen to breastfeed Hope after receiving lots of advice that it was best for baby from nurses and midwives. However, she had to wean Hope sooner than she or baby was ready for in order to get ready to return to work. “I felt that I was forced to stop breastfeeding Hope and put her on the bottle instead, because of my financial situation."
Noreen said that 14 weeks is not very long to establish routines with a new baby, especially if it is your first child. "Most of us have to use up about four weeks of paid leave before baby is born, as due dates are hardly exact.”
Noreen said that many mums need to work in order to get the bills paid, but that six months paid leave would give both mums and babies more of the time that they need, and encourage mums to return to work when they are ready to do so.