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Paid Maternity Leave - Do you need it?

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#1 smtm

Posted 12 November 2008 - 09:12 AM

OK so I am about to have a bit of a rant… so bear with me… Maybe you share my point of view?  

Over the weekend I was horrified to read the Federal Government is considering withdrawing the paid parenting leave, this was to be a government-funded paid maternity leave that would see 140,000 mothers provided with a $540-a-week benefit for 18 weeks, at a cost of $450 million.

I realise there were no promises made for its inclusion in next years budget and I accept we are now moving towards harder economic times, with this year's budget surplus being downgraded from $21.7 billion to $5.4 billion and next year's from $19.7 billion to $3.6 billion.  However … here is what I just don’t understand, I am certain the parents who would have received the paid maternity leave would have used this money to buy products and services, in turn putting the money back into the economy and supporting the cogs of business and demand, which in turn supports employment levels.

Surely providing parents with paid maternity leave is a fantastic initiative to help revive the economy? Small business owners simply cannot afford this expense on their own. I know several small business owners, all acknowledge as much as they would like to offer there staff paid maternity leave, to do so would definitely place a huge financial strain on their business. If small business owners were to shoulder the expense of paid maternity we would more than likely witness the financial collapse of many small businesses who contribute to the health of our economy and employ members of our community.

On the flip side the government funded paid maternity scheme would help businesses, promoting higher workforce participation by women, helping business owners to retrain skilled staff, and reduce the cost of hiring and training new staff. All this again helps the cogs of the economy to continue to turn and ensure people have jobs.

As recent as this week the Federal Government pledged a staggering $6.2 billion for  ‘A New Car Plan For A Greener Future’. The $6.2 billion includes $3.4 billion targeted to the ‘greener assistance program’, the Automotive Transformation Scheme.
Other significant funding initiatives announced this week include $79.6 million to the Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme; $116.3 million to assist structural and labour market adjustments through mergers and consolidations; $20 million to assist suppliers integrate into national and global supply chains, and $6.3 million for an enhanced market access program…. An expanded Green Car Innovation Fund of $1.9 billion brought forward to 2009. Finally $10.5 million has been allocated to boost the LPG vehicle scheme, that will see double payments to purchasers of new private-use vehicles that are factory-fitted with LPG.

Those in the motor vehicle industry must think all their Christmas’s have come at once!

In one report Rudd says “If we want the Australian car industry to prosper, we have to make it stronger - more innovative, more productive, more competitive and more export-focussed. That’s what A New Car Plan For A Greener Future aims to do,”

So it looks like whilst some Australian families struggle to ‘make ends meet’, they will at least have cleaner air to breathe and a competitive motor vehicle industry.

I think it is extremely sad, in tough economic times the government is considering abandoning parents, who need the paid maternity leave more than ever before. I was fortunate enough to work for an organization that paid 3 months maternity leave - it was a godsend. I reinvested my maternity pay, in nappies and a range of other consumer products and services, essentially reinvesting the money back into the Australian economy.

Some may say ‘if you can’t afford children, don’t have them’ and its not up to the taxpayer to fund Australian families. But when reports like the AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report released in late 2007, conclude it costs over half a million to raise two children, I think we can safely say the parents of Australia are putting back into the economy. As a parent I suspect it is going to cost me a lot more than half a million to raise my two, I will be contributing a lot more to our economy especially as they enter school age.

Mr Rudd, please include the paid maternity leave in next years budget.  

What would it mean to you to have paid maternity leave and what would you spend it on?

#2 hollysmama

Posted 05 December 2008 - 02:51 PM

We could live without it if it doesn't go ahead.  But we need to remember, the baby bonus is still out there, isn't that like $5000 now?  I know the maternity leave adds up to something like $9000, before tax, but we still get something from the government.

#3 tjjet2003

Posted 05 December 2008 - 08:27 PM

Paid maternity leave is absolutely essential!  I get it as I work for State Govt but I will continue to campaign for everyone getting it across the board.  It will also help keep people at home longer and therefore reduce stress on our failing childcare system.  The $5000 baby bonus is not good for people who can't budget - paid parental leave is much more sustainable

#4 mumrah

Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:35 PM

Yes, my family could have gotten by without it, but I work for federal government & it really came in handy.  
We spent our paid maternity leave on living each week!  It has meant that I could take longer off work & we are less stressed about our finances.  What a lovely way to say thank you for populating our ageing country  original.gif

#5 tamtams

Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:39 PM

I will be heartbroken if paid Maternity Leave does not go ahead. My Husband & I are paying off a mortgage and car, there is no way we could survive without my income. We are currently TTC, and just playing it by ear as to how we will make ends meet, ie. possibility of paid maternity leave or baby bonus. At this stage it looks as though I will be returning to work when bubs is 3 months old.
It seems to me that where the Government is giving you money in one hand they are taking twice as much from the other!

#6 blmf

Posted 30 April 2009 - 02:43 PM

We have been able to do without it but i would be able to stimulate the economy more if we had it.

I think it should be brought in

#7 wizzbef

Posted 30 April 2009 - 02:51 PM

If you took Maternity Leave then resigned at the end of your leave anyway, do you have to pay it back?

#8 Falala-llyjonk

Posted 30 April 2009 - 02:51 PM

We could also survive without paid maternity leave, but life is a lot easier with it.

At least I hope we can survive without it as I stop getting paid next fortnight and don't plan to going back to work for another six months.

#9 pinkpeony

Posted 30 April 2009 - 03:03 PM

I am in a lucky position to receive 20 weeks paid leave. Plus 30 days flexible work when I come back.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but we are one of only two countries in the developed world that don't have a paid maternity schemes.

In the 70's small businesses were up in arms about needing to keeps jobs open for 12 months while women were on maternity leave - they got over it and survived.

The government should look at something like not charging payroll tax whilst a woman is being paid maternity leave.

It's not about stimulating the economy it is about a baby bonding and breastfeeding with their mother. Even on 20 paid weeks it would be below minimum wage over a 12 month period. My DH and I would be just surviving, no saving or spending. Mortgage and bills.

No, you don't have to pay maternity leave back if you resign at the end of the 12 months.

#10 ~gaby~

Posted 30 April 2009 - 03:27 PM

Im not eligible for any kind of paid maternity leave. I haven't had our baby yet but i do know that any sort of extra pay would come in handy. Our expenses are definitely up there & i am worried about how we will cope financially.

It seems people encourage us to have children, to build the next generation, but it's so damn hard raising them when financially times are hard

#11 red in oz

Posted 30 April 2009 - 03:59 PM

No, you don't have to pay maternity leave back if you resign at the end of the 12 months.

Seriously? Wow? That's pretty daft. Surely recieving paid maternity leave is part of a bargain you make with your employer that you will come back... How could small businesses possibly afford to pay people who aren't going to come back?

I don't have any expectations of recieving paid maternity leave, but I have no intention of going back to work in the next 3-4 years. My choice.

I prefer the Baby Bonus for that reason, but again, it certainly wasn't something I counted on, just a huge bonus and not something I would say no to obviously. I think that the provisions for parenting payments in Aus is good, I get more here as a SAHM than I would have done in the UK. I feel kinda guilty taking it though. Always been one to support myself.

#12 ipc2009

Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:46 PM

Most of us will be better off by taking the paid parental leave instead of baby bonus. You can try this calculator yourself:

Free Baby Bonus or Paid Parental Leave Calculator

This free Baby Bonus or Paid Parental Leave Calculator Excel spreadsheet is developed to assist parents to decide whether they should take the baby bonus or paid parental leave by examining the after tax family income of the two options.

Considering the following scenario: You are going to have a baby soon. Because you can only get either the Baby Bonus or Paid Parental Leave and if you take Paid Parental Leave then you cannot claim Family Tax Benefit B during the Paid Parental Leave, you wonder which one you should choose and if one works out better in the long run.

This free Baby Bonus or Paid Parental Leave Calculator can help you to choose between the Baby Bonus and Paid Parental Leave. It accommodates variables such as when you want to take Paid Parental Leave, when your baby is due, your income, your partner's income, the employer's paid maternity leave, Family Tax Benefit A, Family Tax Benefit B, and Low Income Tax Offset etc.

#13 littlemissmessy

Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:58 PM

For the casual workers, who leave work with no pay, the paid maternity leave is a godsend. If I am lucky enough to be able to get the paid maternity leave, it will mean I can put money aside for bills, car insurance, house insurance and other big cash neccessities that I will need to cover during my maternity leave.

#14 4forme

Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:50 PM

The paid scheme would have suited me very well now that I'm a pregnant single mother.  Reality for me will be returning to work sooner is all once I have taken my 6 weeks paid from work and used my leave entitlements. The baby bonus will help a lot too though in having extra time off.

#15 MightyMummy

Posted 19 December 2010 - 11:46 AM

QUOTE (estherp @ 30/04/2009, 04:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Seriously? Wow? That's pretty daft. Surely recieving paid maternity leave is part of a bargain you make with your employer that you will come back... How could small businesses possibly afford to pay people who aren't going to come back?

I feel kinda guilty taking it though. Always been one to support myself.

How about a small business that has employees who amass a lot of paid annual leave and then instead of spreading it out they resign while on holiday and take a lump sum? No different in terms of cashflow, or morally. Those people earned that benefit and they're entitled to take it. It is not part of some kind of bribe to get them to stay. Paid mat leave is an entitlement. you accrue through working. You aren't obliged to KEEP working just because you use the benefit.

I have no sympathy with small business. Unfair dismissal is rife and they're let off the hook under the legislation. They discriminate, they whinge about being small but get breaks because they're small. They're inefficient. A nation of shopkeepers = a nation of small minded short term thinkers after their individual gain in a direct contradiction of the common good. Give me a multinational any day, at least they have economies of scale and can deal with unions and government in a coordinated way.

If you feel guilty you can always not claim it. I hope you don't expect others to share that view and begrudge contributing to benefits for others.

#16 premmie-29-weeks

Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:54 AM

Would of been fantastic for me.....

Had this been in when I got pregnant I doubt the small business I worked for would have let me go just short of my 3 month probation. I lost my job in December 2009, found a new job before the Xmas holidays and found out I was pregnant on NYE. I told my new employers (feeling very guilty but had I said anything after I signed the contract they probably would have reneged the offer) at 15 weeks. Initially the reaction was very positive and then out of the blue 4 weeks later they let me go at my 3 month review, citing ridiculous reasoning. I have 6 years work experience in my field you don't get sacked for the reasons I was supposedly let go. I really tried very very hard and overcompensated, working long hours. All the client feedback was fantastic...they let me go through legal means, pregnancy being the underlying reason.

We were lucky in that I could work in my husbands business part time, but I feel very let down by small business. I understand the dilemma they faced but theway it panned out was very cruel. As it turns out since then they have hired 3 people to do the job I did.

We didn't need the money thankfully but sure could have used it, all the help you can get is a bonus. The scheme also came in 3 months late for us. I wish things had been different but in the end me have a beautiful 5 month old baby, I had a reasonably stress free pregnancy and we sold our place and renovated our new place duyring the pregnancy which might not have happend as smoothly if I had have been working 60-70 hours a week.

#17 ~nikki~

Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:58 AM

Girls this is  avery old  post check the dates.

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