Thursday, August 28, 2008

Becstarr : Paid parental leave for Australians... lobbying in Canberra #1

Back from Canberra and two days of lobbying federal pollies with Unions NSW about the need to bring in a paid parental leave scheme when the Productivity Commission brings down its report around September. The model that we're proposing is pretty good, I think, and met with a pretty good response all round with those we met with in this round of lobbying. There's more to come, of course!

A brief overview of the model for those who are interested:
* 26 weeks / 6 months of leave, in line with WHO guidelines on the minimum time a baby should be breastfed.
* Jointly funded by the government and employers:
- Govt to pay up to the federal minimum wage, and
- Top-up to the woman's normal salary (capped at about 100K) from the employer fund
* Employer fund to come from a per-employee levy of 0.9% - 1.4%.
* The employer fund works like the long-service leave fund in the building industry, which provides portable benefits for all workers in the industry, no matter which employer they're currently with.
* Small businesses who are exempt from payroll tax (around 12-15 employees as a rule of thumb) to be exempt from the levy, but their employees will still have access to the fund.
* The benefit will replace and enhance the Baby Bonus, and contributes to taxable income.
* Benefit available to all mothers / primary carers, whether they are currently in paid employment or not.
* Benefit can be claimed by either parent / partner, as long as they are designated the primary carer.

Please excuse the long post.... I could be a little overexcited! :)


YL said...

This is indeed exciting and sounds great!! Good work Bec!! *hugs* I'm glad someone is lobbying for the rest of us!

becstarr said...

Oops - minor edit: I was saying 36 weeks / 6 months when it should have ben 26 weeks / 6 months.