1. 50% of mothers to lose government paid parental leave entitlements.
There has been a fierce reaction after the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, announced yesterday that 80,000 new mothers will lose some or all of their government parental leave payments in a move which will see “double dipping” parental leave payments stopped in the next budget.
The Treasurer announced that women who access funds from both the government scheme – which provides 18 weeks of leave at the minimum wage to primary care givers earning $150,000 a year or less – and from their employer will now be forced to choose or to take a part payment.
Sydney University professor of employment relations Marian Baird told Fairfax Media the proposed changes were “the mother of all insults.”
“To now say that mothers are double dipping is just rude and cruel – it’s an outrageous attack on mothers because that was the plan of the scheme.” She told Fairfax Media.
Advocacy group The Parenthood described the move as a “slap in the face.”
It is estimated that about 45,000 women a year – will have access only to a partial government payment because they have some employer entitlements, which are less than the government scheme.
34,000 women a year are estimated to lose the government support entirely, as their workplace scheme is more than the government scheme.
2. Childcare reforms tied to last year’s budget passing the Senate.
The childcare reforms announced by the government yesterday, which are due to simplify the childcare subsidy process with a $3.5 billion overhaul, are contingent on previously rejected family tax benefit changes being approved by the Senate.
Labor’s Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said that tying the childcare changes to the family tax benefit changes was “disingenuous and cruel’’ and Labor would not vote for the savings.
The blocked cuts include maintaining family tax benefit rates, adjusting supplements linked to the benefits and freezing eligibility thresholds so people gradually lose payments as their incomes increase.
The most criticised change is a plan to stop paying Family Tax Benefit Part B to households when the youngest child turns six, down from the current cut-off age of 18 as long as the child is in school.
For more on the childcare overhaul read this post here.
3. Meanwhile Nationals worry stay-at-home mums overlooked.
The ABC reports that the Nationals, including Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan, are concerned the proposed childcare package over looks stay-at-home parents.