The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) yesterday presented a case to the Productivity Commission on the predicted effect of compulsory maternity leave on small to medium retailers. The ARA said members should not have to pay parental leave because they can’t afford it.
"The compliance costs associated with an industry-wide maternity, paternity and parental leave scheme would be crippling for SME retailers and would seriously harm their economic viability and financial survival," said ARA executive director Richard Evans.
He says that while larger retailers could be expected to cope with the added costs, smaller retailers would struggle to absorb costs.
The ACTU and the Australian Institute of Family Studies both advocate a national scheme offering 14 weeks' minimum paid leave to all new mothers.