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Home > News > Employer funded Maternity Leave even more crucial in wake of Paid Parental Leave axing

Employer funded Maternity Leave even more crucial in wake of Paid Parental Leave axing

Former Assistant Branch Secretary Ros Mc Lennan (left) and IEUA journalist Fiona Stutz (right) at the launch of the Queensland Council of Union's campaign for the reinstatement of Paid Parental Leave for all working mothers

Employers contemplating the possibility of axing or reducing maternity leave provisions in collective agreements – in the wake of the federal government’s announcement to turn Paid Parental Leave into a “safety net” – are being warned to think again.

Branch Secretary, Terry Burke, said members had fought hard and achieved family-friendly provisions, including paid maternity leave, which should continue to be respected by employers as a sound investment in their workforce.

“This week his government announced it planned to remove an existing entitlement for workers in receipt of employer funded maternity leave, taking away a benefit of $11,500 that enabled members to extend their maternity leave,” he said.

“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. 

“The current universal Paid Parental Leave scheme, introduced by the previous government, was designed as a basic scheme for parents that would be complemented by employer schemes, taking women’s wages up to their full salary, or allowing for a longer period of leave. It is not there to lessen employers’ responsibilities. 

“Claims of 'double dipping' don’t wash. It is insulting and totally misrepresents the nature and design of the scheme. 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 soon face the difficult task of finding costly childcare.

 “The reality is that many of our members who were hoping to start or extend their families in 2016 have lost a valuable entitlement in this Budget,” he said.

“This is a huge step backwards in terms of family friendly policies.” 

The World Health Organisation standard recommends a minimum of six months maternity leave.

The proposed measures are scheduled to come into force from July 2016, but will need to pass through the Senate. 

Queensland unions have begun campaigning in workplaces with information sessions and materials to keep workers up to date on how the government is undermining the future of Australian families. Join the campaign now.

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.