I’m about to be very unpopular. Betraying the sisterhood and all that. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of femin
azist websites calling me names in due course. But I don’t want and don’t support any Government paid parental leave scheme.
Yes, I am a woman, of breeding age, with ovaries that work and everything.
I support paid parental leave, absolutely, and for both mum and dad. But it was and should always be an incentive payment from your employer for you to return to your job in a timely enough manner that they don’t have to spend big money on replacing you, and they don’t need to retrain you on your return.
For example, back when I was going through uni I, like many thousands of others worked at Coles. Their maternity policy even way back then – even for just plain old check out chicks – was you could take 6 months full pay or 12 months at half pay. Obviously somewhere along the line they had calculated the costs of training and experience to be roughly 6 months pay, or close enough, and offered that benefit as a way of retaining those valued employees.
And so it should be.
If the Government is paying your salary, then you are no longer obligated or incentivised (depending upon the agreement) to return to work. You are released from either the legal or social contract or both that previously existed between you and your employer.
This is really the case with all leave. It’s a good will payment, fought for as entitlements by excellent work of the union movement and other advocates of the workers to be sure, but a good will payment none the less paid by your employer to get you to come back to work. Sick leave, annual leave, family leave, study leave: it’s all the same principle.
Payments made by the Government (tax payer) are welfare. A safety net that should only be called upon when you don’t have sufficient alternative sources of income. A mother who was only employed casually or not otherwise entitled to paid maternity leave from her employer should of course be able to access welfare (with an appropriate income test – wives of the well paid do not need welfare).
The Government should not be paying people their salary. This does not compute. I dislike the current PPL scheme too, because I think it should be a safety net, not an entitlement that diminishes the ability of employers to attract the best employees with better benefits and conditions.
If the Liberal party wanted to spend $5b on incentives for business to offer great PPL schemes – GREAT. I understand its hard for small business, but a) there’s still a welfare safety net, and b) I’m sure you’re capable of figuring out an incentive that is targeted to SMEs.
I know this is not a popular thing to say. But paid parental leave should be a worker benefit offered by your employer. Not welfare from the state.