Proposed PPL changes could impact health of expectant mothers: Lawyer

by John Hilton25 Oct 2016
The federal government recently introduced proposed legislation to reduce access to the government’s paid parental leave scheme to prevent ‘double dipping’.

Double dipping involves mothers receiving taxpayer-funded parental leave while also getting paid leave from their employer.

The government hopes to save $1.2 billion by stopping new parents from receiving the full 18 weeks available under the Government's scheme if their employer also offers parental leave.

If passed by parliament, these plans could take effect as soon as January 2017 and is estimated to impact 80,000 mothers.

This could result in women who are pregnant now missing out on the government benefits.

Working mothers who rely on receiving paid parental leave from the government to take care of their newborn child should not be punished by the government’s new legislative scheme, according to McDonald Murholme lawyer Bianca Mazzarella.

“Many mothers-to-be have already planned their maternity leave,” she said.

“Retracting the scheme will leave many families struggling to make ends meet. 

“Women should be aided during the time that they take maternity leave.” 

Mazzarella added that retracting the leave does not foster positive working relationships between employers and employees who are working mothers.

“As many working mothers rely on the scheme, if this new legislation is passed it will affect the health and safety of expectant mothers as many will feel forced to work as close to their due date as possible.

“It is likely that the health and safety of pregnant women in the workplace will become a concerning issue for employers if this new legislation is passed.”

Labor Leader Bill Shorten said his party would vote against it, while the Greens have also expressed “grave concerns”.

Nick Xenophon said his team had not decided its final position yet.
 

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