This week-end the Government will receive the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on Maternity Leave. It appears that after all the carry-on about this idea it’s not going to even get a look-in as part of the May Budget.
It seems the Nation is not in an economic position to implement it – well the Government had heaps of time to think about accommodating this one before giving away $12 billion of the surplus to many people who don’t actually need it. Maternity Leave payments would have achieved the same outcome – women spending money in retail outlets in preparation for the birth of their baby. It’s not rocket science. And in anycase wasn’t the Government funding for the recommendations of the Commission going to be mostly funded by a revamp of the current Baby Bonus package?
Then we have the small business lobby groups pushing their agenda with comments like, “businesses will be loathed to employ women if they are required to pay the 9% complusory superannuation contributions for employees whilst on 18 weeks maternity leave”. Give it a rest, if you can’t afford to pay $50 a week to retain a good employee – you shouldn’t be in business in the first place. Anyway, the 9% out of pocket expense will make up for the pay inequity issue. If you had a male in the same position you’d have to pay more to even get him to do the job in the first place.
So whilst over 100 prominent female leaders will gather this morning in Canberra to fight attempts to push the issue on to the backburner, one can only ponder the comments made by the man women are relying on to push their cause through, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner. He said, “Paid maternity leave had been ‘kicked off’ the Government’s agenda by the global financial crisis - the Government had made a promise to have a review into a scheme but had made NO explicit promise to introduce it.” Oh please!
This particular issue has been dragging on for years. In the future just keep the money you use to run these issues up the flag pole, running Commissions that cost the nation an absolute fortune and that way we can all go to the polls knowing the truth. That being that working families and in particular working mothers is NOT really one of the Government’s priorities.