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3 months ago
The Government has today knocked back a Labor amendment to a bill and, in doing so, will leave some families almost $15,000 worse off.
An amendment, moved by Labor, to the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Bill 2020 in the Senate would have enabled expecting parents who have lost their job or work hours because of coronavirus to continue to meet the work activity test so they can access the Paid Parental Leave scheme, as they had planned.
The amendment called on the Government to use the extraordinary regulation making power granted to the Minister for Families and Social Services under the coronavirus laws to prevent huge upset to families’ parenting plans.
The Government did not support the amendment.
A person must satisfy the work test in order to be eligible to access the scheme. This requires a person to have worked 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of a child, and at least 330 hours in that 10 month period.
In addition, the Government has continued to fail to amend eligibility for JobKeeper payments to parents who would, if it weren’t for COVID-19, have continued to work prior to the birth of their child.
It is also notable that these families who are now missing out on paid parental leave and JobKeeper may also have missed out on JobSeeker payments if they have a partner who has kept their job.
This is a triple hit to families who will be facing growing economic stress at the same time as bringing a new child into the world. 
Labor is concerned that the failure to fix this problem will force parents especially mums, back to work, before they and their babies are ready, as they won’t get the paid parental leave they were expecting.
Families will be concerned about looming job losses and reductions in work hours if they haven’t already experienced at least one parent losing work.
This is another example of children and women taken off support first and put last by this Government.
The Government has the power to fix the system to ensure that families do not miss out on accessing the paid parental leave scheme due to the impact on coronavirus.
Acknowledging that we are not in normal times, Labor is calling on the Government to temporarily amend the Paid Parental Leave work test so that families don’t miss out because a parent has had their work hours reduced; been stood down; or lost their job.
Social Services