WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR

The Gillard Government introduced 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave at minimum wage in 2011.

During this time Tony Abbott said Paid Parental Leave would only happen “over his dead body”.

Then he promised a rolled gold $20 billion scheme that would give wealthy women $75,000.

Then he dumped it.

Then on Mother's Day the Government announced a huge cutback to the 2011 Gillard Scheme that would see workers 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave reduced by any weeks they had negotiated with their employer.

In what is becoming a usual mode of operation, Tony Abbott went to the electorate promising the world, dropped that and then left new mums with less than what they started with.

HOW MANY FAMILIES WILL BE WORSE OFF?

Nearly 80,000 new mothers will be prevented from accessing the $11,500 available under the current universal Paid Parental Leave scheme because they have collectively negotiated workplace schemes.

This is nearly half of all currently eligible women (47%).

DID THE GOVERNMENT REALLY CALL THOUSANDS OF AUSTRALIAN WOMEN “DOUBLE-DIPPERS”, “FRAUDS” AND “RORTERS”?

Yes.

When delivering the “Mother of All Insults” on Mother’s Day, Treasurer Joe Hockey said people who accessed both were “double-dipping”.

Not satisfied, Joe Hockey later asserted that families who accessed both employer and the government payments were committing fraud.

Not one to be left behind, Liberal Social Services Minister Scott Morrison told Sky News that he thought receiving universal Paid Parental Leave from the government, as well as hard earned entitlements from an employer was a “rort”.

Unsurprisingly, “rorters”, “fraudsters” and “double dippers” have been found within the Liberal-National ranks with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg both being outed as “double-dippers” who have recently accessed both schemes and saw no problem with it at the time.

USING THE SYSTEM AS IT WAS INTENDED

Women who have accessed both the Government PPL and employer-funded workplace schemes are not double dipping, committing fraud or rorting.

They are, in fact, using PPL as it was originally intended.

“The financial support provided by this Act is intended to complement and supplement existing entitlements to paid or unpaid leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child.” (Paid Parental Leave Act 2010)

It is not a replacement for paid parental leave — for instance it does not contribute to superannuation.

The purpose of the scheme and its 18 weeks at minimum wage is to allow as many women as possible to give their children the 26 weeks necessary for proper bonding, breast-feeding and rearing as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The truth is, Australian women are not “double-dipping” but they are being “double crossed” by a government that has an ever growing list of broken promises.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE ABBOTT GOVERNMENT SUCCEEDS?

The first thing that will happen is that nearly 80,000 Australian families will miss out on their proper entitlements. The second thing to happen is that employers across the country, and en masse , will respond to these new restrictions by dumping many of their own schemes that were won by the collective effort and sacrifice of workers over the last 30 years.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already warned that employers would respond by getting rid of their own schemes, denying the government the $1 billion in savings it anticipates.

When employers drop their schemes, leaving only the government scheme to depend on, the superannuation gap will only widen (which already sits at 64% to 36%)— at a time when the Abbott government continues to put more and more pressure on people in their retirement.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Sign our petition

Display a PPL Poster at work (put it on the fridge or the noticeboard).

Take a photo of you and your workmates with the PPL Poster and post it on Facebook, and tag @UnionsNSW.

Share one of the PPL Poster images on Facebook or Twitter, together with your message about why PPL matters, and tag @Unions NSW.

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