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Proposed changes to paid parental leave

Parental LeaveOctober 27, 2016

Proposed changes to paid parental leave (Last Updated On: November 8, 2016)

The Coalition Government has been warned it will face backlash if it pushes ahead with a proposed cut back on paid parental leave “double dipping”. That is, individuals who receive paid parental leave from their employers and also access the Australian Government’s Parental Leave Pay (PLP) scheme.

The Government’s move to announce a start date has sparked fears it could subject thousands of expectant mothers to stress about financial stability. Further, some media reports have even suggested that expectant mothers may consider inducing labour if paid parental leave changes pass Parliament by as early as January 2017.

What is proposed?

Currently, new parents are eligible to receive 18 weeks’ of paid parental leave from the Government, at the minimum wage, plus any additional entitlements paid for by their employer. Women earning more than $150,000 per annum are not eligible for the government scheme. The minimum provisions of the National Employment Standards further allow a parent to take up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. The median income for a person on paid parental leave is $48,421, according the Department of Social Services.

The proposed legislation to tighten access to the Government’s paid leave scheme for parents who are also accessing paid leave from their employer. By preventing new parents from receiving the full 18 weeks of government-funded leave, if their employer offers a more generous parental leave scheme would save the government $1.2 billion.

The revised scheme would see new parents have their taxpayer-funded entitlement either reduced or cut altogether. This would mean between 40,000 and 50,000 women already pregnant would be left up to $12,000 worse off under the changes.

Jo Briskey, executive director of advocacy group The Parenthood, said: “It is simply unbelievable that Mr Turnbull would say to thousands of pregnant women across the country, some with only two months to go until they give birth, that you now need to throw your maternity leave plans out the window.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government was “out of touch” for seeking to cut back on paid parental leave while pursuing tax cuts for big businesses.
What is next?

If the legislation passes, it is likely the new scheme would start late next year and almost certainly be subject to further changes. That being said, Australian political climate tends to be unpredictable. Just look back at the past five years.

If you are ever confused about new employment legislation and how this could affect your business, call Employsure on 1300 651 415. As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, Employsure helps small to medium businesses understand confusing and constantly evolving legislation and the implications for you.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald


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