Last week Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that tens of thousands of ‘double-dipping’ new mums would be blocked from accessing the Government’s paid parental leave scheme if their employer’s scheme was more generous. Here, NSW Labor secretary and campaign organiser Rose Jackson explains to a Mamamia reader why women on maternity leave should be allowed to have it both ways.
Okay, okay, this might be an unpopular question, but can you explain to me why getting money from the Government AND money from your employer to cover you while you’re on maternity leave is NOT double-dipping?
Of course I am a big supporter of Paid Parental Leave, but it always did seem strange to me that if you had a good enough job that paid you to have a baby, you still got the money from the Government that, presumably, is designed to help people who aren’t so fortunate.It seems sensible to me to make it an either/or proposition. Most people have saved some money to prepare for a baby, so surely this is a helping hand, not an essential life-saving payment? Thank you,
Andrea, (via FB)
Despite the now considerable evidence that the whole ‘budget emergency’ thing wasn’t really an actual thing, we all know there is no mystical money tree and it is the role of Government to make decisions about where and how to spend the finite resources it collects in taxation.
In case you missed it: A guide to the winners and losers in the 2015 Federal Budget.
Decisions do need to be made. And decisions sometime mean some people do better and some people do worse. Australian democracy is not an episode of Oprah – ‘everyone gets a free car!’ – it’s redistributive, from people and businesses that have a lot to people and (generally smaller) businesses that don’t.
We elect our Governments to make those decisions about who carries the burdens on behalf of a better society for all of us.
In 2015, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have identified the latest group of deserving burden carriers – those well-known high-life livers – new mothers. Yep, that’s right, in the ‘tough decisions’ about who wins and who loses out of the Federal Budget, it’s pregnant ladies who are the chief losers this time around. They’ve clearly had it easy for far too long.
Vomiting out of car windows or in café toilets. Fluid retention – oh those retched cankles! Needing to pee constantly because your twins are doing a tap-dance on your bladder. Stretch marks and dizziness and restless legs and all without booze? Easy street, my friends. We clearly aren’t doing our bit.
From Julie Bishop: “Child care support is not a welfare payment”.
Joe Hockey’s called it: the ‘age of entitlement’ is over.
Well if that’s the age where I am entitled to be paid 75 cents for every dollar a man earns, be chronically under-represented in our Parliaments and corporate leadership, lose seniority and be sidelined when taking maternity leave then I cannot wait for the new age of disentitlement! Sounds peachy.
And what’s the policy prescription for our exorbitant life of luxury (aka the gruelling daily battle to shower)?
Joe Hockey called it again: ‘no more double-dipping on parental leave’. New mothers can no longer access both the Federal Government Parental Leave scheme and any scheme provided directly by their employer.
When I recall having just pushed something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a grape or enduring serious caesarean surgery to save my baby / self, breastfeeding a tiny growing new human on demand, trying to fully recover after the massive bodily clusterfuck that is pregnancy and childbirth, hanging out to scoff some more sweet (minimum wage) dollars like I’m greedily helping myself to the hummus on that same piece of pita is clearly the scenario that comes to mind. Pass me the tzatziki, I’m a dirty double-dipper!
The Federal Government’s parental leave scheme – 18 weeks at the minimum wage – was always intended to be a safety net complemented by the myria employer schemes many (sadly not all) working women can access. For many women it meant at least 25-35 weeks of some kind of paid leave during critical early development stages for tiny babies. How civilised, how appropriate, you might think, you’d be wrong – how clearly an extravagance.