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No maternity pay but boost for pensioners

Department of Family and Community Services head Jeff Harmer will submit a review this week, with an expected recommendation to increase the single aged pension by up to $35 a week. The estimated cost to the government will be $2 billion a year for every $10 a week increase.

The Productivity Commission’s final report on paid maternity leave is also due next month, however it seems unlikely that the scheme will go ahead as part of the May budget due to the current national deficit, dashing the hopes of maternity leave advocacy groups. The scheme has an estimated cost of $450 million per annum.

Federal sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick says the government can expect an angry backlash if maternity did not stay on the agenda. She believes economic downturn should not have an effect on the scheme’s implementation.

“Will the global financial crisis be used as an excuse? I’m hoping that that’s absolutely not the case,” she told a women’s forum in Canberra this week. “Paid maternity leave has been 30 years in gestation, it’s absolutely time to induce.”

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Adeline Teoh

Adeline Teoh

Adeline Teoh is a journalist with more than a decade of publishing experience in the fields of business, education, travel, health, and project management. She has specialised in business since 2003.

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