Cry of pol­icy baby boom

Mercury (Hobart) - - REACTION - BLAIR RICHARDS

A MINI baby bonus-style baby boom could be on the cards if women bring for­ward preg­nancy plans to beat the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s end to so-called “dou­ble dip­ping” on paid parental leave.

As an­nounced in the Bud­get, the Gov­ern­ment that once wanted to give work­ing women paid ma­ter­nity leave at six months of full pay will now scale back the ex­ist­ing scheme.

If the Lib­er­als’ fam­ily re­forms make it through the Se­nate, from July next year, women who re­ceive paid par- en­tal leave from their em­ployer won’t re­ceive any­thing from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment if their em­ployer-paid leave is equal to or greater than the Gov­ern­ment scheme.

The cur­rent Gov­ern­ment leave scheme, im­ple­mented by La­bor, of­fers 18 weeks’ leave at min­i­mum wage.

UTAS work­force de­mog­ra­pher Lisa Denny said, as with the baby bonus in the early to mid 2000s, the new pol­icy shift could tem­po­ral­ity boost fer­til­ity, es­pe­cially with Australia’s cur­rent “favourable” de­mo­graphic of child-bearingaged women.

She said the Fed­eral Lib­er­als seemed con­fused about what they wanted to achieve.

“They have a num­ber of ob­jec­tives they want to achieve for women and they in­clude in­creas­ing labour force par­tic­i­pa­tion, a re­pro­duc­tion com­po­nent and they have a pol­icy that they want women to breast­feed for six months and there are also plans for gen­der equal­ity and in­creas­ing the num­ber of women on boards,” Ms Denny said.

“Then we’ve got the down­right rude dec­la­ra­tion from Joe Hockey that dou­ble dip­ping is fraud­u­lent be­hav­iour by women.”

She said this was dis­re­spect­ful to the role women played in pro­duc­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of work­ers and tax­pay­ers.

De­mog­ra­pher and pop­u­la­tion re­searcher Amina Key­gan said if the pol­icy was im­ple­mented there could be a “com­pres­sion” in fer­til­ity.

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