Stop cuts to working parents' time to care

UPDATE - GREAT NEWS: After two years of powerful campaigning by Fair Agenda members and other concerned community members, the cuts to paid parental leave have been taken out of the federal budget. It's a really important reprieve for the tens of thousands of working families who stood to lose precious time to care if these cuts had gone ahead.

But - the fight may not be over. If the Government have shown us anything over the past two years, it's that they don't give up on these cuts easily -- so Fair Agenda will keep a watching brief on this issue.

But right now, Fair Agenda's work to secure an election commitment from the Nick Xenophon Team - and to hold them to account for that promise - are the key factor that are stopping these cuts going ahead. So thank you to all those Fair Agenda members who made calls, sent emails, met with their Senators, helped secure election commitments, and funded research to help stop these cuts. You can read more about the impact of our campaigning together here.


The Turnbull Government have just 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.[2]


-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. 


It's hard enough caring for a newborn without being forced back to work early. Please don't cut working parents' right to the existing 18 weeks government paid parental leave. 


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Kimberley , 3875  /  signed 2018-01-15 16:28:18 +1100
Kaitlyn , 6230  /  signed 2017-08-12 00:55:23 +1000
"We shouldn’t be separated from our children until we know we’re ready"
Justine , 3000  /  signed 2017-04-12 16:56:53 +1000
Bethany , 4103  /  signed 2017-03-11 00:01:48 +1100
Leah , 4053  /  signed 2017-03-10 12:03:31 +1100
Heather , 5019  /  signed 2017-03-09 17:05:28 +1100
Josephine , 4012  /  signed 2017-03-08 22:03:54 +1100
Carolin , 2205  /  signed 2017-03-07 11:59:46 +1100
"I want to live in a country that supports women to balance family life and careers. We will all be better off if babies have quality time with their mothers during the crucial first 6 months of bonding, and if women can continue to contribute their skills and expertise and fulfill their career ambitions. It should be a no-brainer in a 21st society to give women at least 26 weeks of paid leave after giving birth."
Amy , 5127  /  signed 2017-03-06 13:43:21 +1100
"Amy Macnamara"
Erika , 4179  /  signed 2017-02-26 09:32:45 +1100
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