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What the Government hasn't told you about the changes for mums.

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.

Parental leave is essential to promote bonding between a baby and it's primary carer.

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.

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On Sunday, the Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison, announced a bunch of changes to the way the childcare system works. What are, for the most part, good changes. They make childcare more affordable for parents who struggle to pay for it while also assisting parents who rely on subsidised childcare to stay in work.

The childcare reforms are, for the most part, quite good. But is the Government trying to trick us when it comes to paying for them?

Later that day, Joe Hockey indicated that where a woman has access to workplace maternity leave, also accessing government funded maternity leave is “double dipping” and suggested the Government might be thinking about cutting access to maternity leave.

We also found out that the changes to make childcare more affordable and easier to access for parents will not go ahead unless cuts to welfare benefits for families and single mothers are passed by the Senate.

We have done a full reversal.

Mere months ago, childcare reform was to be funded by levies on big business – corporates with big profits. Now, the Government is taking from women with the left hand, through slashing welfare and potentially messing around with maternity leave, while giving to women with the right hand.

Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

I would like to do more to clear up the confusion about what you can actually expect and what the impact might be on your family budget. But at this stage, there are too many balls in the air to make anything clear.

The Federal Budget will be delivered tomorrow night, and hopefully we’ll know more then.

But in the meantime, women are confused and cranky.

Are you planning to have a baby soon? How will this affect you?

Want more? Try:

Parents can expect $1500 a year as part of childcare reforms to be announced today.

Budget 2015: Scott Morrison announces extra childcare money for at-risk children.

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