Paid parental leave scheme doesn’t go far enough

While the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme passing through the Senate yesterday marked a historic day for women in Australia, critics say the Paid Parental Scheme doesn’t go far enough.

Paid Maternity LeaveCritics of the scheme include the Shadow Minister for the Status of Women and Liberal Member for Murray Dr Sharman Stone, who feel that the Paid Parental Scheme does not go far enough for women and used the opportunity to highlight the Coalition’s proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme which will extend for a full 26 weeks at full pay.

“The poor-relation scheme offering only 18 weeks of the minimum wage does not go near covering the household expenses of two-income families working hard to pay their mortgage and the costs of living,”

“Countless submissions to the Productivity Commission and a Senate Community Affairs Committee inquiry put a strong case for the international standard of 26 weeks paid leave.” said Dr Sharman Stone.

Dr Sharman Stone believes the Liberal Party offers a far fairer alternative that seeks to extend leave entitlements to the non-primary carer as well as pay parental leave  at existing wage levels, but in the process requires ‘big business’ to pay a levy to finance the Coalition’s Paid Parental Scheme plans.

“The Coalition is offering a far fairer alternative with its scheme paying real replacement wages for  26 weeks, superannuation and a two-week ‘use it or lose it’ bonus to the non-primary carer, usually the father.”  she said.

Both the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Industry Group showed broadly bipartisan for the Federal Government’s paid parental leave scheme passed yesterday.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the passing of the Paid Parental Leave Bill by the Senate yesterday was the culmination of a 30-year campaign by the unions.

“This is a truly great achievement for working women and the Rudd Government should be congratulated.” Ms Burrow said.

“The final passage through the Parliament today of the Federal Government’s paid parental leave legislation marks the achievement of a hard won and important reform which will work well for families and work well for business,” Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said today.

While there will be compliance costs for business Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout was broadly supportive of the passed paid parental leave legislation.

“The final passage through the Parliament today of the Federal Government’s paid parental leave legislation marks the achievement of a hard won and important reform which will work well for families and work well for business,” Ms Ridout said.

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