“Parental leave is not a workplace entitlement, no matter how often government spokesmen claim otherwise,” FamilyVoice research officer Ros Phillips said today.
“Parental leave is not like sick leave, which is granted to all permanent employees, regardless of their sex or fertility, in the interests of the health of the whole workforce,” she said. “Without sick leave, infectious employees could come to work and spread their disease to everyone around them.
“Parental leave is not like recreation leave, which is also granted to all employees regardless of their sex or fertility. Without recreation leave, employees become tired, stressed and less productive. Recreation as well as sick leave is in the best interests of the employer, who pays for it.”
Ros Phillips said that parental leave is quite different. It applies only to employees who happen to be parents, and the federal government’s scheme is paid for by the taxpayer, not the employer.
“Some employers wish to keep talented female employees in their company, and offer them attractive salaries and parental leave. That is their prerogative,” Ros Phillips said.
“But it is blatantly unjust to force taxpaying single income families, whose mums do not qualify for the government’s leave scheme, to fund a super-generous pay-out that only goes to mothers in the paid workforce. Even more unjust is the government’s requirement for big companies like Coles and Woolies to help fund this pay-out. The resultant increase in prices would hurt families so poor that they do not pay tax.
“Senator-elect Bob Day is right to say that any paid parental leave should apply to all mums. It is a straightforward case of ‘equal pay for equal work’,” Ros Phillips said.
“I am greatly encouraged to learn that Nationals and some other government senators oppose the government’s scheme. I urge them to stand firm in the knowledge that most Australians support them!”
- Family and parenthood
- Government and society