Senators should reject sneaky cuts to Paid Parental Leave

The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), is urging the Nick Xenophon Team and other cross-benchers to reject the Turnbull Government’s latest underhand attempt at cutting paid parental leave (PPL) for working families.

ANMF Acting Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the cruel cuts, contained in the Omnibus Bill ripping billions of dollars from social services, will hurt nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing (AIN), particularly those working in the lowly-paid aged care sector – and their families.

“Despite all the warnings and the public backlash over its policy backflip, the Government seems intent on stripping working women of their publicly-funded PPL,” Ms Butler said today.

“Their proposed cuts to PPL will mean thousands of our members across Australia will lose between $2,690 per annum to $10,763 per annum where they currently have employer paid parental leave.

“There should be no confusion, the Government’s so-called ‘savings’ mean cuts in income for working families. If the cuts go ahead, nurses, midwives and AINs will be among the hardest low- to-middle income workers impacted.

“Our members deliver dedicated care, day in and day out, to the families of our community, but their own families will be punished by the Government if they are forced to return to work early after the birth of a child because of these cuts. If they wish to stay and care for their newborn a little longer, they stand to lose a substantial amount of money.

“While the ANMF strongly supports improved access to childcare, the Omnibus Bill risks funding child care at the expense of PPL and family payments for nurses, midwives and AINs.”

Ms Butler said the ANMF was very disappointed that the Government is introducing the Bill before a Senate Committee reviewing changes to PPL had even had time to make its recommendations.

Only last week, mother-of-four Phoebe Brick, a registered nurse of 17 years, said it was “heartbreaking” that working women accessing their employer-funded and government parental leave entitlements have unfairly been described as “double dipping”. In relation to PPL, she said “eighteen weeks is insufficient and potentially dangerous.”

“We are calling on Senator Xenophon and the other cross-benchers to take notice of the evidence and reject these cruel cuts to PPL,” Ms Butler added.

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