Policy change means many mothers miss out on scheme
LABOR has singled out paid parental leave as a key battleground as Prime Minister Tony Abbott weighs up an early election on the back of a better-received second Budget.
The first question time after Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered his second budget was dominated by opposition questions about the government’s parental leave policy change and the coalition spruiking small business tax breaks.
From July 1 next year, about 80,000 new mothers won’t be able to access the government paid parental leave scheme if their employer already provides the same leave.
Labor says thousands of public and private sector employees who have bargained away wages to get access to employer-provided leave, which complements the government scheme, will be badly impacted.
Mr Abbott, who described his now-ditched parental leave scheme as his signature policy, said he had been convinced the government needed to prioritise childcare spending over leave.
Giving workers access to a government scheme and employer-paid leave was “double dipping” which needed to end, he said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten seized on comments by Mr Hockey and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison as evidence the government was showing contempt for new parents.
Sunia Lesuma with his partner Amanda King and their three children Sunia Junior, Sophieanna and Sherrell, struggled while he was unemployed.