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Paid parental leave debate heats up

Businesses have largely welcomed the introduction of the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme but doubts over its administration still exist.

Paid Parental LeaveA major debate held yesterday by Diversity Council Australia and hosted by Gilbert + Tobin, with Senator Jacinta Collins, Special Advisor for Work and Family Balance and Pay Equity, Dr Sharman Stone MP, Shadow Minister for the Status of Women, Early Childhood Education and Childcare, Ann Sherry of Carnival Australia, Professor Marian Baird of the University of Sydney and James Pomeroy, senior lawyer of Gilbert + Tobin, thrashed out these issues.

Ann Sherry, CEO Carnival Australia said that employers recognise the productivity benefits to be gained from a PPL scheme but were wary of increased compliance costs.

Employers also called for greater flexibility to enable employees to vary the amounts of leave to take account of their family circumstances.

Senator Jacinta Collins said the government’s scheme which would offer 18 weeks’ paid leave at the minimum wage and would begin in January next year would be fully funded by the taxpayer.

Dr Sharman Stone promised the opposition would offer a much more generous scheme of 26 weeks at replacement wage and would include superannuation. It would be funded largely by a levy on business.

Professor Marian Baird said the government’s scheme would place Australia in the middle of the pack according to international practice whilst the opposition’s scheme would have Australia amongst the leaders in the world.

Last week the exposure draft Paid Parental Leave bill was introduced to the Senate, with the Council of Small Business of Australia COSBOA disappointed with the approach of the Federal Government in consulting for the paid parental leave scheme. COSBOA believe the exposure draft that was presented in the Senate last night fails because it continues to force small business owners to be involved in the process.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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