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Valuing families & the next generation means maintaining & improving fair time to care

04 November 2015 By ASU

You'd be forgiven for feeling duped by this Federal Government. The Australian Services Union well remembers Tony Abbott's Paid Parental Leave (PPL) election promise in 2013 because we predicted it wouldn't be delivered. We weren't happy to be proven right because the welfare of future generations is at stake. What we didn't predict was the spectacular backflip, cutting back on the existing modest system of PPL, and for good measure, a smattering of insults and accusations that parents were rorters and double dippers!

151104-fair-time-to-care800pxw2Everyone knows the importance of caring time with an infant, the bonding that occurs along with the development of physical, psychological and intellectual health and well-being. But as the world of work has changed and many households need two incomes to provide a stable base for their families, factoring in time to care for the newest Australians has become fraught. Unions like the ASU campaigned with their members to achieve paid parental leave entitlements with many employers and we all fought hard together for the kind of universal paid parental leave from the Government that meant a safety net for everyone.

A fair system of paid time at home to care for the next generation, to ensure they have the best start, is not only good for workers, it's crucial for our kids (and we were all one of those at some point) and consequently good for the Australian community.

Unfortunately, despite a song and dance from this Federal Government before they won the 2013 election about making PPL great for everyone, it is now to be unfairly dismantled by Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull. That's right, fair time to care that has been steadily achieved over decades of campaigning and negotiating is to be cut back, not improved. The Human Rights Commission doesn't like it and neither do employer associations!

  • SIGN THE PETITION calling on the Senate to reject the Fed Govt's backflip on PPL --> SIGN HERE
  • SHARE THIS ARTICLE ONLINE with your other social media network, use this link:
  • DOWNLOAD THE PPL FLYERS to circulate to family, friends, colleagues and neighbours (see below for download links)
  • BUILD A BETTER FUTURE. Join the Australian Unions' campaign to fight for our living standards --> SIGN UP

151104-fed-govt-insulting-backflipCast your mind back two years. In comparison to the pre-existing Government PPL scheme (18 weeks at minimum wage on top of employer PPL), Mr Abbott had promised a very generous 50% of actual wage for those taking a year out to look after infants. We questioned this on various grounds (eg. spending on other important family policies like child care had been ignored) and we were suspicious that it would never be delivered, then on Mothers Day 2015 the Federal Government did a spectacular backflip. Click here to view the PPL policy rollercoaster ride the Coalition has taken us on over recent years.

Not only did the Government break its promise, with the maximum payment cap nose-diving from $75,000 to $11,824, Coalition MPs accused parents of rorting the system. Their new PPL offer is far worse than the pre-existing scheme.

What does the Fed Govt PPL Bill mean for ASU members?

  1. All ASU members who are entitled to employer PPL will now lose because anything you get from your employer is DEDUCTED from the Government component.

  2. ASU members at the lower end of the income scale also face cuts even though they're least able to afford them, if they have any employer PPL.

  3. In comparison to Abbott's election promise, all ASU members receive significantly less PPL, even public sector workers who had to choose which scheme to accept.

This table shows the diminishing rate of Government PPL under the Coalition Bill for a parent earning a modest income compared to the existing Government PPL & the now infamous 2013 election pomise (click on the table to view a larger image):



Are parents rorters, double dippers & frauds?

151104-facts-not-double-dipping-on-pplNo! Parents who have accessed both Government PPL and employer PPL schemes are not double dipping, committing fraud or rorting. They are, in fact, using PPL as it was originally intended when the existing Government scheme was designed and implemented.

How do we know this? Given that the principle is enshrined in the legislation itself, it's pretty hard to quarrel with. Here's what the paid parental leave legislation currently says:

"The financial support provided by 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."
Paid Parental Leave Act 2010.

The attack on our hard won rights

The Coalition lulled Australians planning to start or extend their families into a false sense of security with a "rolled gold" PPL promise, but since the election the PPL situation has changed significantly.

151104-ppl-case-studies-kellie-chloeNot only did the Coalition Government break its "signature" PPL promise, it is now trying to cut the pre-existing Government PPL scheme that workers have planned by.

The case studies of two ASU members, Kellie and Chloe (see excerpt on the right), show the dramatic impact the new Bill would have on their family finances if it passes Parliament.

Federal Minister Scott Morrison has upped the insults by claiming Australians' concerns over PPL cuts are merely "first world issues" ('Rights breached' in parent leave plan, The Australian, 17 Aug 2015). His comment was in response to the Human Rights Commission criticising the proposed cuts in Federal Government PPL Bill.

Morrison also falsely claimed only high income earners will be affected but tens of thousands of workers on low wages have employer PPL - their Government PPL will be cut. The following table shows the very big difference for a worker at the lower end, earning $40,000 per year, between the pre-existing PPL available to them under two scenarios and what they would get under the Government's backflip (click on the table to view a larger image):



As a wage earner on $40,000 per year (which is not a great deal more than minimum wage), do you think a cut of $4,615 in parental leave payments won't affect your ability to provide the best possible care for your infant? That's a lot of nappies, singlets, onesies, wipes, talcum powder, nappy rash cream, let alone daily living expenses for your household and days away from work. Now imagine losing $9,231 from your entitlements, which would be the case for those with employer PPL of 12 weeks duration!

Take action to save paid parental leave

We have employer paid parental leave in many workplaces because members of the Australian Services Union fought hard for it for many decades. Help us save it for future generations of workers and along the way, improve it, too.

  1. SIGN THE PETITION calling on the Senate to reject the Federal Government's backflip on paid parental leave --> SIGN HERE


  3. SHARE THIS ARTICLE ONLINE with your Facebook or other social media network - this is a powerful way to spread the message widely - use this link:

  4. DOWNLOAD ONE OR BOTH OF THESE PPL FLYERS to circulate to family, friends, colleagues and neighbours:

    icon ASU-Paid Parental Leave flyer with ASU case studies
    icon ASU-Paid Parental Leave Fact Sheet

  5. BUILD A BETTER FUTURE. Join the Australian Unions' campaign for the Federal election to fight for our living standards --> SIGN UP

ASU members who have fought for paid parental leave rights



icon ASU-Paid Parental Leave flyer with ASU case studies

icon ASU-Paid Parental Leave Fact Sheet

Contact Details
Name: ASU National Office
Telephone: 03 9342 1400