Government plans to stop new mums from “double-dipping” parental leave entitlements – claiming them from both the government and their employers – have been shelved, for now.
The legislation was due to come into effect from 1 July 2016, but hasn’t yet passed parliament.
Under the current system, new parents are entitled to 18 weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) at the minimum wage, from the government. This works out to be $11,826 per household, and is paid whether or not the parents are entitled to any paid parental leave from their employers.
As the legislation won’t pass parliament in time, that means mums and dads who are currently expecting could be entitled to more paid parental leave than they’ve currently budgeted for.
Changes to the system were announced by the Abbott government who claimed around 80,000 mothers were “double dipping”. They said that tightening up the eligibility requirements would save taxpayers around $1 billion over four years.
Social Sevices Minister Christian Porter today told the ABC that the legislation isn’t going to pass through parliament during its current term.
“The reality is that the legislative change that we wish to make to that arrangement is not going to be successful in this term of Parliament,” he said.
“I think that much is absolutely clear to me and to the members of the Government.
“So people who are pregnant or planning to become, the status quo is clearly going to be maintained for a period of time.”
However, he said the government still wants to reform the paid parental leave and the changes may be implemented at some point in the future, should the Turnbull government be re-elected.
“However that does not mean that this government at the moment is not trying to change (the current scheme) or if it were re-elected wouldn’t also be looking at ways in which to modify the existing system along the lines that we have suggested because there is a real equity issue here,” he said.
“It is a generous system to people who are at the lower end of the income earning spectrum, as it should be.
“But the additional problem that arises is for the top 20 per cent or so of higher income earners it is inequitably generous because you can have the 18 weeks at minimum wage but also be able to access your own, which is often very generous, employer-based PPL.”