Join unions' parental leave cuts protest petitions

Anna Uren
Women's Coordinator

New parents could be set to lose up to $12,000

Add your voice to those standing up for paid parental leave by sending a message to crossbench senators that they must vote against cuts to the leave — click here.

With some of the new federal senators making their position known on measures the government had failed to get through the previous parliament, the Coalition has put cuts to paid parental leave back on the table.

If the government gets its way, up to 80,000 new parents each year could be set to lose up to $12,000, possibly from as early as January 1, 2017. Even teachers who are already heavily pregnant might have to revisit their plans for next year.

The bill has been reintroduced to the senate and proposes to cut access to the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave — 18 weeks at the minimum wage — to those workers who already have access to some form of paid leave from their employer. This will affect most teachers taking maternity leave.

Those promoting the cuts use language like “double-dippers” to imply that new parents accessing employer and Commonwealth payments for parental leave are frauds.

It was, however, always the intention for the payment to operate in conjunction with employer leave. Employers with existing schemes were not allowed to cut them to be replaced by the commonwealth payment and employers without existing schemes were encouraged to begin topping up their employees’ payments. The proposed changes completely undermine both these goals.

The payment has been used by many teachers to extend the 14 weeks available from the employer to reach the 26 weeks’ leave recommended by the World Health Organisation in the interests of maternal and child health.

Members can join those calling on Malcolm Turnbull to stand up for Australian families and abandon the savage cuts to paid parental leave by signing the petition here.

Click here for PDF of this story.