Parental Leave Pay (PLP) provides $12,000, to just under 170,000 families every year. At an annual (gross) cost of $1.97 billion PLP provides $672.60 a week for up to 18 weeks that the primary claimant, 99.4 per cent of whom are birth mothers, remain on parental leave after the birth of a child.
In Budget 2015-16 the Abbott government courted controversy by proposing a dollar-for-dollar reduction in PLP for every dollar of PLP claimant’s Primary Carer Pay (PCP) workplace entitlements. In the wake of wide spread concern about the design of the Removing Double-Dipping from Parental Leave Pay budget measure it was abandoned and replaced with a week-for-week reduction by the Turnbull government in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2015-16. More recently the government has signalled its intention to follow through with PLP reform while providing a two week increase in PLP entitlement as a sweetener to get the reforms through the Senate.
With eligibility for PLP up to $150,000 of mother’s annual pre-birth income for mothers who meet the work test, it is hardly surprising that the government sees PLP as the low hanging fruit of budget repair. However, despite recent developments its passage through the Senate is far from certain.
This seminar will present recent Australian data on PCP workplace entitlements from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey and length of PCP used by mothers from the 2011 ABS Pregnancy and Employment Transitions Survey. It will be argued that few low-income households are likely to be impacted by PLP reform on account of low access to PCP entitlement among mothers in these households. The seminar will then explore some arguments for, and against, allowing concurrence of PLP and PCP entitlement.