Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A new cloud of confusion over paid parental leave scheme

Over the weekend, I was disgusted to hear of Tony Abbott's grand plans for a paid parental leave scheme if Liberals win the next election.

Over the past couple of years, this country has debated the pros and cons of paid parental leave and who should pay for it - even though we are one of 2 OECD countries who still does not have a formal Government funded paid parental leave system.

The Productivity Commission was tasked to work with interest groups to find a solution. Initially, it was planned that business would initially fund the paid parental leave payments until reimbursed by Government - and they would have to pay superannuation contributions. Business groups were extremely critical of this approach because most Australians are employed by small businesses who could not afford to fund the paid parental leave scheme upfront or the ongoing superannuation contributions.

So now Tony Abbott wants big businesses to pay without reimbursement, and they don't even employ most of Australia. Talk about creating confusion and prolonging this issue.

Start reading about how other countries have successfully implemented a Government paid parental leave system. Yes, it is public money but start considering the return on investment.

1 comment:

Tania3 said...

Yes, I too am confused about Tony Abbot's paid parental leave policy. What would happen if, as in my case 10 years ago, I left my employment to have my first baby not knowing what was ahead of me and when or if I wanted to return to my job, I took the paid leave and then decided I did NOT want to return to my previous employment? Would I be required to pay the money back and, if so, to whom? Or would I feel compelled to return to my old job - even though it's not really what I want? Clearly, not enough thought has gone into this policy. I've heard some say the policy empowers women; I think the opposite! I think it actually gives us fewer choices. And I certainly don't think it's right to expect big businesses to pick up the tab.