It’s angered many, including some in its own ranks … but there is one industry sector that can’t wait for the Coalition to roll out its controversial paid maternity leave scheme.
Many of Australia’s leading maternity wear retailers are welcoming the paid maternity leave scheme, including the internationally successful Vespa & the Ladybird. The label has even launched their first ever collection of maternity wear to flatter working women during their pregnancy in preparation for the expected rise in new mums.
Brand founder Kim Vespa says the company’s expansion from their flagship post-pregnancy product, the ‘belly wrap’, was fueled by a groundswell of comments from women who are excited about feeling more financially secure to leave work to have a child.
“We’ve definitely noticed an increase in the number of professional women seeking advice on how to best manage the physical transition of early pregnancy through to full term from a fashion sense,” she says.
“You could say they’re planning ahead!”
One young woman doing just that is 24-year-old Brisbane primary school teacher Megan Macfarlane, who, with her partner, recently purchased a bayside property “perfect for a family”.
Although not having a child “anytime soon”, she believes the scheme will help new mums establish the “pivotal bond” between mother and baby.
“The first six months are so important in cementing the relationship of the mother as the primary caregiver to her baby,” she says.
“If the scheme allows women who would otherwise have had to return to work for financial reasons to stay home with their baby in that early period, then this is great… and if the proposed timeline helps people make plans for their future, even better!”
The Australian Childcare Alliance is also gearing up for an increased demand for childcare facilities in mid-2015, with President Gwynn Bridge saying the organisation will be for performing a needs analysis mid-2014 to determine the supply and demand of childcare around the nation in 2015.
With 2011 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing 68% of the women in the workforce had children under the age of two years old, and nearly three-quarters of those returned to work following the birth, it’s certainly a market becoming very hard to ignore.