Diversity Council Australia is disappointed that the Federal Government is persisting with the scaling back of Government funded paid parental leave (PPL) as it is bad for business, women and families.
Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO, said that while the changes flagged by the Government today are an improvement on previous proposals, any scaling back of paid parental leave will not assist women or their families and would be a step backwards.
“Any policy that reduces income to women and families during parental leave is a bad thing.
“In addition to the obvious financial pressure it puts on families, it may have a negative impact on return-to-work rates, and would put greater burden on employers to increase their schemes or act as a disincentive for business to provide additional payments.
“What’s more, scaling back the scheme will only add to the wage gap that women experience as a result of having children, as well as put further pressure on the childcare system.
“The World Health Organisation recommends 26 weeks of paid leave as the minimum standard for new parents to adequately bond with their newborn and establish breastfeeding – something that has long term societal benefits. And it was always intended that the current scheme’s 18 weeks’ paid leave at the minimum wage would be complemented by employer-funded schemes.
“DCA recommends that the current system be maintained and the Government instead focus on providing support for flexible work for both men and women and more affordable and accessible childcare.
“The Senate inquiry into the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016 is due to report next week. At the very least we believe any proposals should be fully considered in response to the findings of the inquiry,” said Lisa.