Coalition government abandons attack on paid parental leave
The Turnbull Government has backed down from its attack on paid parental leave (PPL) – and so called “double dippers” – abandoning legislation that would have stopped women from accessing employer paid parental leave in addition to the government funded leave provided at the national minimum wage.
The current federal government PPL scheme provides 18 weeks of leave at the national minimum wage. Women who are also entitled to PPL from their employer can access this in addition to the federal scheme.
Under the coalition’s now abandoned proposal, employees with access to PPL from their employer (equating to at least 20 weeks of leave at the national minimum wage) would lose access to the federal scheme entirely.
Amid speculation that this legislation would not pass the senate, the coalition government quietly backed down with Minister for Social Services Christian Porter saying it would not be an “immediate priority” for the government to revisit.
This is a clear win for IEUA-QNT members – who have campaigned extensively alongside other unions – to defend against these attacks.
Thousands of IEUA-QNT members – including many working full-time across Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran sectors – were facing a loss of access to the federally-funded PPL scheme that would have left them thousands of dollars worse off.
Had this legislation succeeded, it would have meant a loss of over $12,000 for every one of these members and denied their families important time to bond with their newborn child.
The legislation would have also been a huge step back in family-friendly policies and a complete ignorance of the benefits of paid parental leave.
For IEUA-QNT member and Catholic school teacher Alison Clark, the extra money provided by the federal government scheme when her youngest child was born gave her family financial security.
“For young families, it is difficult to balance a mortgage and wanting to stay at home with our children but not being able to financially afford to do so.
“Having this extra money allows families some breathing space financially – meaning you can focus on spending quality time with your new baby as a mother and as a family,” Ms Clark said.