By SCOTT LIMBRICK
The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme, first announced by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on International Women’s Day in 2010, has been both lauded and criticised as a “Rolls-Royce” scheme. But what is the difference between this and competing policies?
Labor’s more modest paid parental leave plan offers 18 weeks’ leave at minimum wage, currently around $622 a week before tax or just over $11,000 for the 18-week period.
Unlike the Coalition’s scheme, Labor’s policy is funded by general revenue. A review of this policy is currently underway but the results are unlikely to be announced until after the election.
· 18 weeks leave at $11,196 (equivalent to minimum wage)
· Funded by general revenue
· Two weeks of paid leave available to partners, also at minimum wage
· The Baby Bonus and Paid Parental Leave cannot be claimed for the same child
· Policy is currently under review but this will not be complete before election
· Claim that Coalition’s scheme would see wealthier women subsidised by poorer women
· If elected, Centrelink would cover costs of the scheme for small businesses (of less than 20 staff)
-Must be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
– Must have met the Paid Parental Leave work test
– Must meet residence requirements throughout the leave period
– Must have income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year
– Must be on leave or not working throughout the leave period
– Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract, and self-employed workers may be eligible.
The Coalition’s policy offers mothers 26 weeks of leave on a full salary of up to $150,000 annually, or $75,000 for the six-month period. Funding for this arrangement is to come from a 1.5% levy on more than 3,000 of Australia’s largest companies, expected to be officially announced shortly.
Concern exists within the party that such a policy is unaffordable.
· To commence from 1 July 2015
· 26 weeks leave at a maximum of $75,000 (equivalent to mother’s full time salary or minimum wage, whichever is greater)
· Funded by levy on Australia’s largest companies
· Two weeks of paid leave available to partners, also set at their own salary
· If father is nominated as the primary carer his rate of paid leave would be based on the mother’s salary.
· Estimated to cost $6.1 billion over the forward estimates (three years beyond the current fiscal year)
· Eligibility to remain the same
The Greens have developed a policy closer to the Coalition’s due to their belief that the majority of women would take a significant pay cut to stay at home with their children under Labor’s plan. While they would also pay for the scheme using a levy on businesses, their annual salary cap would sit at $100,000, or $50,000 for the six-month leave period.
· 26 weeks leave at a maximum of $50,000 (equivalent to mother’s full time salary or minimum wage, whichever is greater)
· Also funded by levy
· Claim that Labor’s scheme is the bare minimum while the Coalition’s is inequitable
Scott recently graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts after completing high school in Singapore. He has written for Meanjin, Voiceworks, and The Punch, volunteered with the Oaktree Foundation and interned at Change.org. Scott has worked in a chocolate shop and a callcentre, annoys his housemates with his mediocre cooking skills (tacos only), and his finest moment was playing a Jimi Hendrix solo behind his head. He can be found on Twitter here.
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