Red tape warning as government unveils parental leave scheme

Small business owners will not miss out on a new parental leave payment, which will deliver almost $1,200 to new fathers and partners from January next year, but small business says it should not be asked to administer the payment.


The payment is eligible to fathers or partners who earn less than $150,000 per year and provides them with two weeks of government-funded leave after a baby is born.

Small business owners and employees will be eligible.


The Government’s scheme is designed to stop people taking the cash but not taking the time off – the partner will not be able to time the leave to match leave funded by the employer or allowed to go back to work during the fortnight.


Under changes brought in by the Labor Government, mothers are entitled to 18 weeks’ leave. Both parents must have worked for 10 of the past 13 months to be eligible for the payment, which is two weeks’ minimum wage.


Families Minister Jenny Macklin says the package will allow fathers and partners the time to bond with the baby.


“This additional financial assistance will be especially important for fathers who find it difficult to balance the family budget when their baby is born, such as casual employees without annual leave entitlements and self-employed people like tradespeople, small business owners and those working in a family business or farm,” Macklin says.


Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, is pleased that small business owners are included.


But Strong would prefer if payments were paid directly by Centrelink rather than distributed by employers.


“We support paid parental leave,” Strong told SmartCompany this morning.


“But it’s the same old issue – why are they asking us to do it?”


This article first appeared on SmartCompany.


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