Parental savings on the block
THE federal Budget faces another $1 billion blackhole as the Abbott Government struggles to convince the Senate of its plan to target so-called “double dippers”.
The Senate crossbench is likely to block proposed changes that would scale back paid parental leave entitlements for new mums and dads.
Unions and family groups are winning the battle to persuade the senators over plans that would see 79,000 women a year lose all or partial access to the Commonwealth scheme.
In May Treasurer Joe Hockey announced plans to save $967.7 million over four years with a more “fairly targeted” scheme that stops new parents accessing both their employer-funded maternity leave and government-funded parental leave payments.
It came after Prime Minister Tony Abbott ditched his signature 26-week, $5.5 billion paid parental leave policy – which he took to two elections – because many of his colleagues regarded it as “too generous”.
Victorian independent Senator John Madigan lashed out at the Government’s characterisation of some mothers as “double-dippers”.
“As it stands, mothers entitled to paid parental leave from their employer can also claim a government benefit. It is unfair, and completely inappropriate, to characterise women who do so as welfare cheats,” Senator Madigan said.