Stop cuts to parents' time to care for their newborns
BREAKING: The Turnbull Government have now announced their *fourth* attempt to cut our paid parental leave system. They're trying to sell this new proposal as a boost for parents; but in reality they're making a boost for some parents entirely contingent on cutting the time tens of thousands of other working parents can afford to spend caring for their newborns, and planning on stripping $750 million from the system overall.
It's a proposal that would pit working parents against each other, and drag our system backwards. It would also cap the total combined leave available to eligible parents at 20 weeks -- well below the 26 weeks postnatal leave experts recommend for health and welfare outcomes.
The fate of these cuts will be decided by the Senate crossbench, with The Nick Xenophon Team expected to have the critical casting votes. Community campaigning has stopped the Turnbull Government from getting their plans to cut paid parental leave through the previous parliament.
It's critical we show the Senate crossbench that the community oppose these cuts; and want them to stop these cruel cuts to new families. Can you sign the petition to join the campaign?
Find out more about the new cuts
Experts say that 26 weeks post-natal leave is the minimum needed for health and welfare reasons.
Right now, any eligible parent can access 18 weeks of leave at the minimum wage, and then top that up with any leave they’ve negotiated into their employment contract, to cover costs while they care for their newborn.
The system was designed to be used in combination; to allow more women to access the recommended 26+ weeks leave. For many women, the leave negotiated into their employment agreement has been bargained in lieu of additional pay or other leave provisions.
In their latest proposal the Government is once again trying to punish these women – by cutting their access to government leave if they want to access the employer leave they’ve negotiated. It means that instead of acting as a floor, the period of government provided leave would instead becomes a ceiling.
To be clear, there are some positive aspects of this latest proposal:
- The amount of government provided leave would be increased from 18 to 20 weeks at the minimum wage (still well below the 26 weeks recommended by experts). This would be good news for working parents without access to employer leave.
- A change in the ‘activity test’ that determines would also see an increase in the number of parents eligible to access parental leave. And if these increases were all that was on the table – it would be good news...
- But both these changes would both be contingent on cutting the leave available for 72,000 other families.
In short, the crux of this proposal is still a cut. One that’s estimated to tear $600-$750 million out of the parental leave system, and to slash the amount of time thousands of workers like nurses, retail workers and ambos can afford to spend caring for their newborn. In fact, it’s estimated that under this new proposal 68,000 families with a median income of $62,000 a year would lose an average of $5,600.
-Find out more -
1. Is this the winning compromise on paid parental leave, Women’s Agenda, 21 November 2016.
2. Samantha Maiden: Breakthrough looms on parental leave pay, Daily Telegraph, 20 November 2016.
Paid parental leave: Nick Xenophon warned not to pit working mums against each other, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 2016.