Jasmine Bourchier, a mother to five-month-old triplets, is experiencing the steep financial challenges of raising multiple children. Consequently, she is becoming acutely aware of the intense pressures involved.
Examining Australia’s PPL Policy
- Families with twins or triplets receive no extra Paid Parental Leave (PPL) in Australia.
- The Australian Multiple Birth Association reports that raising triplets is 13 times more expensive than a single child.
- Bourchier finds this PPL policy demoralizing and unjust.
After opting for a year-long maternity leave, Bourchier spent a significant portion of it in hospital care, including time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “A large part of my maternity leave was dedicated to their hospital stay,” she stated.
Her triplets are dealing with various health issues, requiring care from specialists such as dermatologists and neurosurgeons. Additionally, one of her triplets has ‘craniosynostosis,’ a rare condition needing major surgery at about 10 to 12 months.
“I need more time with them, especially now,” Bourchier explained. “I can’t rush back to work, despite our financial situation.”
AMBA’s Call for Change
The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) is urging the government to offer more leave for parents of multiples. Currently, Australia’s PPL doesn’t cater to families with twins or triplets.
AMBA’s recent report shows Australia offers the least support for parents of multiples among OECD countries. “If I had children separately, I’d get different maternity leaves,” Bourchier noted. “But having triplets at once doesn’t count.”
The Cost of Raising Triplets
Silje Andersen-Cooke, a director at AMBA and a mother of triplets, highlights the financial burden. “Raising triplets is extremely costly,” she said. “Parents often deal with premature births and need more home help.”
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare warns of financial stress and social challenges for these families. Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth mentioned existing aids like newborn payments and supplements. These are means-tested. “For multiple births, we offer Parental Leave Pay for one child and other payments for additional children,” she stated.
However, these aids don’t cover all families. Andersen-Cooke believes every parent of multiples deserves extra time off, regardless of income.
This article is a summarized version of a report originally published by ABC News. It has been rewritten for our readers at Twins Magazine, with a focus on the unique challenges faced by families with multiples in Australia. For the full original report, please refer to ABC News.