The secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sharan Burrow, has called on the Rudd Government to keep its promise on paid maternity leave by phasing the scheme in over the next few years.
“If indeed you can’t afford it in one hit, then talk to Australian women,” Burrow said yesterday.
“If it needs to be phased in over a couple of years, that’s a discussion that can be had, but don’t make women wait.”
Burrow’s calls came as Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin confirmed she has received the final report from the Productivity Commission.
The Government says it will release the report within 25 parliamentary sitting days, but that may not be until after the federal budget is unveiled in May.
Macklin says the report will be “carefully considered in the budget context”.
But according to report in The Australian, the Commission is believe to have revised downwards the total cost of the scheme, which it originally estimated at $450 million of public funding and $75 million from businesses.
That could give Burrow’s idea a bit more momentum.
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