Members on maternity leave to lose thousands if PPL access cut
Thousands of IEUA-QNT members taking maternity leave would be $12,000 worse-off should the federal government’s determination to cut crucial Paid Parental Leave (PPL) entitlements be approved by the Senate.
Replicating similar moves by Abbott federal government last year, the Turnbull government last week introduced proposed legislation to restrict access to the government's paid leave scheme for parents who are also accessing paid leave from their employer.
While the government’s proposed 1 January 2017 implementation of the change has been rejected by Nick Xenophon’s senate team, the proposal itself remains with a 1 October 2017 date now being flagged.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Rebecca Sisson said if the Senate were to pass the federal government’s 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 18 weeks leave paid at the minimum wage.
“This would mean a loss of over $12,000 for every one of these members – a loss of critical additional dollars for their family and time spent bonding with their newborn child.
“It would mean a huge step back in family-friendly policies and indicates either gross misunderstanding, or ignorance, of the benefits of paid parental leave.
Ms Sisson said the financial impact on parents being cut off from the Federal Government’s paid parental 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.
For IEUA-QNT member and Catholic school teacher Alison Clark (pictured, right, with son Harry), the extra money provided by the 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.
Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) General Secretary Ros McLennan said unions and community groups would escalate the campaign to force the government to reconsider its unfair changes.
“A full-time wage for the first six months of a child’s life, and affordable early education and care when parents are back at work is the best way to create a bright future for all of our kids,” she said.
“Babies do best when they are cared for by a parent, full-time for their first six months. And when parents are back at work, families need affordable early education and care.
“Making sure every new family can give a child this start in life is something employers and the government need to provide, together.”
Members can help save the PPL scheme by signing the ACTU’s latest petition to the federal government calling on them to scrap their proposed legislation.