At-a-glance: Paid Parental Leave policy from the major parties

(AAP)

Whoever wins the federal election, Australian parents will benefit from paid parental leave. But the amount they're paid is one of the major differences between Labor and the Coalition this federal election.

The Labor government introduced Australia's first national Paid Parental Leave scheme on January 1, 2011.

At the time the legislation was passed, Families Minister Jenny Macklin said it was about time families had access to paid parental leave.

"Australian families have waited far too long for a national paid parental leave scheme and with this bill we are finally catching up with the rest of the developed world."

Under the scheme, primary carers will receive 18-weeks leave paid at the national minimum wage which is currently around $620 a week before tax.

Secondary carers get two-weeks leave, also at the minimum wage.

Superannuation is not paid under the Labor scheme and working mothers earning more than $150,000 a year are not eligible for the payments.

But the Coalition says Labor's Paid Parental Scheme shows Labor doesn't understand the pressures on modern families.

The Coalition is promising all primary carers of babies born after June 2015 would get 26 weeks parental leave at full pay.

Industry groups and even politicians within the Coalition have also come out against the policy, saying it's too generous.

Some Nationals MPs have even threatened to vote against legislation needed to enact the scheme.

Mr Abbott says his policy is not generous, it's fair.

"I am confident that my colleagues will come with me because this is the kind of thing that you only have to think about to appreciate its significance and necessity," Mr Abbott said.

"Look this isn't a question of being generous, this is a question of being fair."

"Why should the public servants go on paid parental leave at their wage and the people working as shop assistants and factory workers and charity workers not get paid parental leave at their wage too."

Under the Coalition's scheme, the maximum replacement wage would be $150,000 a year and the minimum would be the federal minimum wage.

Those earning less than the minimum would get a top up, and everyone would be paid superannuation at the mandatory rate of nine per cent.

Like under Labor's plan, the Coalition would allow a secondary carer to take two weeks paid parental leave, but those weeks would be deducted from the primary carer's 26 week allowance.

Again, that would be paid at the carer's actual wage or the federal minimum - whichever is higher.

The Coalition says the scheme would be funded by a 1.5 per cent levy on companies' taxable income once it exceeds $5 million.

That would be expected to affect about 3000 companies, but the Coalition says it would be offset by a simultaneous tax cut of the same amount.

But Labor says the levy would raise less than half the money needed to pay for the scheme.

It's suggesting a Coalition government would cut family payments, health and education to find the money.

The Australian Greens have a paid parental leave policy too and it's very similar to the Coalition's.

The Greens would also provide 26 weeks paid leave at full pay for a primary carer, and two weeks at full pay for a secondary carer.

But the Greens' payments would be capped at $100,000 a year: $50,000 lower than the Coalition's threshold.

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne says her party's plan is cheaper and fairer than the Coalition's.

"Tony Abbott's scheme is way too generous in that it makes it quite inequitable," Senator Milne said.

"What he's refused to acknowledge is that not only is it a levy on big business but it will require a major taxpayer component and that's why the Greens have set the cap at $100,000 as the salary cap because that captures 90 per cent of women in the work force."

Like the Coalition's plan, the Greens' payments would include superannuation contributions.

Similarly, the payments would be funded by a 1.5 per cent levy on companies' taxable incomes over $5 million dollars but the Greens would not introduce a company tax cut to offset the impact on big business.

Parliamentary Budget Office costings show this would raise most of the seven-billion dollar price tag for the minor party's scheme.

The Palmer United Party says its Parental Payment Scheme would offer all new mothers $25,000 for six months, regardless of how much they earn.

Leader Clive Palmer says the Coalition's policy isn't fair to ordinary Australians.

"You can't have a situation where the government takes money and gives it to one class of people based on their earnings and avoids the other people. It's really a concept that I can't live with and I think it's very dangerous. Of course to expect business to pay 1.5 per cent just means Tony Abbott is incompetent of running the economy."

For more information on Paid Parental Leave, read our People's Pundit piece on how the Coalition and Labor differ on PPL policy.

 

Source SBS

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