Local MP supports baby leave plan

THERE has been a mixed reaction to the Coalition’s plan to pay new parents for 26 weeks after the birth of their child.

The plan, unveiled by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott earlier this week, involves working new parents being paid their salaries up to $150,000 and is supported by local MP Luke Hartsuyker.

“Paid parental leave has the capacity to assist those not only in full-time work,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Anyone who works a day a week has access to this paid parental leave.”

Speaking from Canberra Mr Hartsuyker said some of the benefits of the scheme are yet to be explained and this is only one ‘limb’ of family policy the Coalition have to unveil before the coming election.

The plan will be funded by large corporations who have a taxable income of more than $5 million a year. A 1.7 per cent levy will be charged to around 3200 companies in Australia, raising around $2.7 billion.

Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce president Peter Lubans said the chamber will be discussing the plan with members.

“I think we need to have a look at the Opposition’s proposal and see how it affects business,” Mr Lubans said.

Local solicitor Jay Clowes said the devil is in the details in this new plan.

“Six months paid leave at normal wages is an extremely generous entitlement and the proposed income cap of $150,000 means that parental leave could become financially viable for middle and high income earners, who currently cannot afford the drop in income that parental leave requires,” Mr Clowes said.

“Giving some of the proposed levy to employers rather than the employees (and thus decreasing the cost to business of an employee’s absence) may in fact do more to change business’ view of parental leave than throwing more money at parents.”

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