Monday, October 24, 2016

Turnbull plan attacks parental leave

The Turnbull government has been warned it will face a "massive backlash" from pregnant women if it pushes ahead with a planned crackdown on paid parental leave "double dipping" that could start as early as January. 

Labor is calling on the Senate crossbench to block the move, which could affect up to 80,000 new mothers a year.

The government last week introduced proposed legislation to tighten access to the government's paid leave scheme for parents who are also accessing paid leave from their employer.

If passed by Parliament, the change could come into effect as early as January 1, meaning women who are pregnant now could miss out on government benefits.

"This is a direct attack on paid parental leave, a direct attack on those mothers who are trying to combine their work and family responsibilities, and will leave thousands and thousands of new mothers in this country worse off," opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said on Sunday.
She said there were between 40,000 and 50,000 women already pregnant who would be left up to $12,000 worse off.

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.

"Mr Turnbull needs to make amends for this disastrous decision and pull his PPL legislation because there's no way he's going to withstand a massive public backlash led by thousands of pregnant women."

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.

"Why should nurses, or shop assistants or other people who have forgone pay rises in lieu of getting a paid parental benefit now be slugged because they've negotiated these conditions and not get the minimum paid parental leave?" Mr Shorten said.

"Labor will never vote to punish ordinary people."

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