Federal move puts PPL at risk
The Federal Government is attempting to strip away the rights of more than half of working mothers by cutting entitlements to the federally-funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme.
The government announced in May it would stop workers accessing the Commonwealth’s PPL scheme to supplement any existing employer entitlements they may have beyond a maximum 18 weeks leave paid at the minimum wage.
The Fairer PPL Amendment Bill 2015 was introduced into parliament in June and is now subject to a Senate Enquiry.
Under the Bill claimants will now have to inform the Department of Human Services of any primary carer pay they are entitled to from their employer.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said union members had fought hard to achieve family-friendly provisions, including paid parental leave and this should continue to be respected by employers as a sound investment in their workforce.
“Employers who think they can remove or reduce maternity leave provisions in collective agreements and rely on the government’s minimum wage based scheme are mistaken. If anything, employers should be considering how they can help workers make up the shortfall created by the government.”
Mr Burke said the current universal PPL scheme, introduced by the former federal government, was designed as a basic arrangement for parents that would be complemented by employer schemes, taking women’s wages up to their full salary, or allowing for longer periods of leave.
“This latest attack on families will prevent working mothers from taking a reasonable period of maternity leave, forcing a premature return to work for many mothers who will also face the difficult task of finding costly childcare.”
Mr Burke said this is a huge step backwards in family-friendly policies.
“Many of our members hoping to start or extend their families in 2016 have lost a valuable entitlement in this Budget,” he said.
Ros McLennan Assistant General Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), which organised a blockade against the cuts, said it aimed to show the government parents accessing the current arrangements are not ‘rorters’.
“The suggestion that women are ‘double dipping’ is an insult to working mothers and completely misrepresents the nature and design of the scheme,” she said.
Members are urged to take action and reject the government’s attack on PPL.
To help stop the unacceptable cuts, sign the Save Paid Parental Leave petition at www.queenslandunions.org.au/ppl