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Gay Parents In Australia Now Eligible For Paid Parental Leave, Same Rights As Heterosexuals

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Thanks to a new scheme enacted by the government, gay parents in Australia have been granted the same rights as heterosexual couples and will be fully eligible for paid parental leave when they have a child.

According to Australia's News Online, this is the first time that the Australian government's "paid parental leave for fathers will be extended to dads whose partner is another dad." The same will apply for mothers with same-sex partners.

While one parent in a same-sex partnership is currently eligible for 18 weeks parental leave under the "Paid Parental Leave" scheme, this new policy will allow both moms or dads to take time off to bond with baby.

A government press release introducing the new "Dad and Partner Pay" scheme explains that a mom or dad not nominated to be the primary carer of a child will be allowed two weeks parental leave to the value of about $630. The paid leave is applicable to surrogacy, adoption and other arrangements with the birth mother.

As TNT Magazine notes, the scheme, which will kick in next January, applies to both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

"The new 'Dad and Partner Pay' will help dads take more time off in those critical early months to bond with their baby and help moms right from the start," said Jenny Macklin, the Minister for Families who introduced the scheme.

While policies like this one show Australia's relatively progressive attitude toward LGBT equality, gay rights in the oceanic country is, in fact, a mixed bag. Same-sex adoption, for instance, is legal in only a handful of Australian states and same-sex marriage is banned across the country.

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