If you’re confused about childcare and maternity leave right now, you are not alone.
I am confused about the Government’s plans for childcare and paid parental leave.
The whole office is confused.
No one knows what is going on.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not certain that the Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey, knows what’s going on either.
So, be reassured on that front. You are not alone.
I’m going to do my best to try and work out what’s going on, for my own sake just as much as anyone else’s.
I need to go back a few years for this to make sense though. Stay with me.
In 2013, Tony Abbott promised to provide all women six months of maternity leave at their full rate of pay and won the election, in part, off the back of that promise. He planned to pay for it by taxing big companies a little extra.
Thing you should know: the Government currently provides 18 weeks of maternity leave paid at the minimum wage. It’s designed to help women whose workplaces don’t provide any maternity leave. It’s also designed to supplement workplace funded maternity leave, to get women to the recommended six months’ time with a newborn for bonding, breastfeeding etc. It can also be used by dads who want to stay at home and be with their kids in those early months.
Still with me?
In 2014, the Government did a big study of childcare, because childcare is expensive for parents and it’s expensive for taxpayers. They wanted to get some ideas to simplify the system and try to get costs down for parents.
At the same time, Tony Abbott abandoned his promise on six months maternity leave at full pay. But he said that he would keep the tax on companies and use that money to help fund childcare reform. Annoying, but we already have some government funded maternity leave. No biggie.
Earlier this year, Mr Abbott announced that he had scrapped his plans to tax companies. This left us all a little mystified about how the Government was planning to pay for the childcare reforms they promised us were coming.