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What AEU Members Need To Know About Paid Parental Leave

The Abbott Government wants to cut the Paid Parental Leave of AEU members.

Sign the ACTU petition calling upon cross bench Senators to vote against the Abbott Government’s savage cuts to the Federal Paid Parental Leave Scheme: http://www.australianunions.org.au/parental_leave_petition

Under its latest budget, 80,000 new mothers across Australia, including many AEU members, will lose access to some or all of the Federal Paid Parental Leave Scheme [1]. This will take up to $11,500 out of family budgets and force many women to return to work after having children, before they or their babies are ready. 

Current entitlements

In 1937, teachers in NSW won the first entitlement to a small amount of Paid Parental Leave; a significant achievement for the times. Today, many AEU members across Australia have access to between 12 and 18 weeks Paid Parental Leave.  These are hard won entitlements and the result of years of lobbying and bargaining by AEU members.

In 2011, following a concerted campaign by business, community groups and unions, including the AEU, the Gillard Government introduced a universal entitlement to 18 weeks PPL payable at the Federal minimum wage. At that time, Australia was one of only two countries in the OECD without a universal Paid Parental Leave scheme.

The Government scheme and workplace schemes work together to allow AEU members to take the time needed to care for their babies during the essential early weeks.

Paid Parental Leave is a health issue

Australian and International health experts nominate 26 weeks as the minimum time that mothers should spend bonding with and exclusively breastfeeding their babies. There is a strong correlation between length of paid parental leave and the capacity of women to maintain breastfeeding. There are a number of health and social problems associated with women being forced to return to work earlier than 26 weeks [2].

Double dipping, frauds and rorts?

The Federal Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 states: “the financial support of this Act is intended to complement and supplement existing entitlements to paid or unpaid leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child”.

Yet the Federal Treasurer has accused Australians who access both schemes of “double dipping” and Federal Government commentary has referred to access to both schemes as a “rort” and “fraud&rdquo [3].

Paid Parental Leave is NOT a luxury

Most of the developed world provides longer paid parental leave than Australia: the United Kingdom provides 39 weeks, Canada 50 weeks and Sweden 60 weeks [4]. Australia’s scheme is minimal in comparison.

How can you help?

Sign the ACTU petition calling upon cross bench Senators to vote against the Abbott Government’s savage cuts to the Federal Paid Parental Leave Scheme: http://www.australianunions.org.au/parental_leave_petition

Talk to your colleagues, your community and your local Federal Member of Parliament.



[1] http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/federal-budget-2015-almost-50-per-cent-of-mums-to-lose-government-paid-parental-leave-entitlements-20150510-ggy8xq

[2] https://theconversation.com/parental-leave-cuts-undermine-breastfeeding-and-child-health-at-all-australians-expense-41617

[3]http://www.joehockey.com/media/transcripts/details.aspx?s=773

[4] https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefits-payments/review-of-the-paid-parental-leave-scheme-terms-of-reference/international-examples-of-paid-parental-leave-schemes



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