Mothers would rather have affordable childcare than PPL

Tony Abbott has flagged changes to his proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme. (SBS)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott hasn’t yet revealed the details of his revamped Paid Parental Leave scheme, but many mothers say the focus should be on affordable childcare not PPL.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced he will restructure his signature Paid Parental Leave (PPL) policy over the summer in a bid to win Senate support.

The original scheme, outlined before the federal election, proposed a maximum payout to new mums of $75,000 over six months.

Mr Abbott won't reveal what the new scheme might look like, saying only that paid leave will still be determined by women's wages, and savings will be directed into childcare.

The revamped scheme is speculated to include a new means test that would exclude women on salaries of more than $150,000 per year.

But some mothers say they would rather have good quality, affordable childcare, than paid parental leave.

Sydney mother Ellie Fuller is expecting her second child in a few months and will soon start maternity leave. Paid parental leave isn’t on her mind – she’s more concerned about her childcare spot.

“You put your name down and you are on a waiting list for three years, which is ridiculous."

“This child is going to be born in March so the following year I am going to have to make the decision whether it starts at 10 months old, which I'm not sure I am comfortable with, or I lose the spot,” Ms Fuller told SBS.

Other mothers SBS spoke to in Sydney shared similar concerns.

Susan Egan is going back to work next year so she’s more interested in the availability, affordability and quality of childcare, than she is about the paid parental leave debate.

“You put your name down and you are on a waiting list for three years, which is ridiculous,” said Ms Egan.

“I'm ultimately going to be working longer than I am going to be on maternity leave so that is ultimately where my priorities lie,” she said.

This year’s CareForKids.com Annual Childcare survey found 20 per cent of unemployed parents aren't working, because of the high cost of childcare.

And 55 per cent of Australian families pay more than $300 per week on childcare.

When asked about the government’s original paid parental leave proposal of a $75,000 maximum pay out over six months, 58 per cent said it was over the top and/or too expensive for business.

While 56 per cent believed the current scheme, of 18 weeks at minimum wage, is appropriate.

"55 per cent of Australian families pay more than $300 per week on childcare."

But the Women's Electoral Lobby says the policy change shouldn't be a choice between generous leave and affordable childcare.

“It should be paid at replacement wage not just the minimum wage the government funded scheme is,” said Melanie Fernandez of the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

“We need to have a system that provides for parents taking paid parental leave and also provides for childcare services when you return to work."

Dee Drewitt was pregnant when Tony Abbott announced his paid parental leave boost during the 2013 election campaign.

“We need to have a system that provides for parents taking paid parental leave and also provides for childcare services when you return to work."

“There is so little opportunities for childcare assistance that you need to take the time off, but you also need to be able to afford to,” she told SBS.

“Hopefully it will come through, I think it is needed, it's more about the family assistance not just for the woman. But I do think the priority is more funding for childcare,” she said.

Ms Drewitt has just secured her 10-month-old son a day care spot after being on the waiting list since she was just six weeks pregnant, a familiar story for many mothers.

 

 

 

Source SBS

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