Increasing paid parental leave entitlements is being considered by the federal government but budget constraints will stop immediate action on the issue, the prime minister says.

Unions and businesses want the paid leave entitlement extended from 18 to 26 weeks to help lift women’s participation in the workforce.

Anthony Albanese said it’s a proposal his government is considering.

“We would certainly like to do more but some of these issues are within the budget constraints … we have inherited $1 trillion of debt,” he told the Nine Network on Friday.

“It is a worthy idea and worthy of consideration.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he has been up-front with Australians about the fiscal constraints within the budget.

“We welcome a conversation about paid parental leave … (but) you can’t fund every good idea and so we need to be responsible about it,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has called for parental leave to be paid at the replacement rate rather than the minimum wage to increase uptake among men.

The union group also wants the government to map out a path to lift entitlements to 52 weeks by 2030, offered on a shared basis between parents.

The Business Council of Australia agrees the basic paid entitlement should be lifted to 26 weeks.