Cry of policy baby boom
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.