Uncertainty over proposed Paid Parental Leave cuts continues
This week’s announcement from One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson that she would not support the federal government’s proposed plans to cut crucial Paid Parental Leave (PPL) creates ongoing uncertainty for workers across Australia.
With the senator stating she was concerned it could lead to new mums rorting the system, the Coalition would need the support of the independents and minor parties in the Senate for the bill to go ahead.
However, the Nick Xenophon senate team have stated they will also vote against the legislation indicating they were against the government’s decision to link the potential savings from the bill with funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Labour had announced its opposition of any changes to the current scheme, given the impact it would have for working mothers and their families.
This opposition means the federal government will now be forced to reconsider its proposed cuts.
Under the federal government’s current plan to cut crucial PPL entitlements, IEUA-QNT members taking maternity leave would be thousands of dollars worse-off.
Despite a recent revision to already proposed changes, the federal government is still at heart seeking to restrict access to the government’s paid leave scheme for parents who are also accessing paid leave from their employer.
The revised government legislation proposes an extension to the current government-funded paid parental leave scheme from 18 weeks to 20 weeks.
Despite this change the majority of IEUA-QNT members would still be worse off.
The changes would stop employees from accessing the full government-funded parental leave scheme at the same time as receiving parental leave entitlements from their employer.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Rebecca Sisson said if the Senate passes the proposed legislation, thousands of members including many working full-time across Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran sectors would lose their access to the scheme.
“The federal government’s plan is to stop workers accessing the federally-funded PPL scheme to supplement any existing employer entitlements they may have beyond a maximum 20 weeks leave paid at the minimum wage.
“If the changes proceed, some families will lose access to the government-funded scheme entirely, while others will have their government entitlements reduced,” Rebecca said.
She said the financial impact on parents being cut off from the federal government’s paid parental leave scheme would result in a loss of entitlements, work intensification and increased impacts to the health system that would be felt for years to come.
Union members have fought hard to ensure paid parental leave provisions are available to all families and will not allow the federal government to strip away this fundamental right.
The current ACTU ‘Stop the Cuts’ campaign asks people to sign a petition calling on the government and minor parties not to put disability funding at risk.