Opinion: No need for parents to have two bites of the cherry

THE mummy movement has been at it again this week, this time not-so-subtly protesting the changes to the paid parental leave scheme that was announced in the budget.

To break it down quite simply it comes to this - where once you could take maternity leave from your employer and the government, you now can only have one.

The changes affect 20% of people currently accessing government paid parental leave.

Let's be clear about this - that 20% are people who have been collecting maternity leave from their employer and the government, as they were entitled to do.

But that 20% of people aren't low income earners. They aren't part-time or casual workers. They aren't workers who rely on the government scheme.

Those affected have been getting paid leave twice.

I don't agree with the term double-dipping or rorting that some people have thrown about.

It has just been the way the system was set up.

I took paid leave from my employer and from the government when I had my first.

When I had my second, I didn't meet the work requirements for paid parental leave so I took the baby bonus.

I have been the recipient of paid leave and I know first hand how much it helps.

But I do agree with what the government has proposed to do and I am struggling to see why people have a problem with mums having access to only one lot of leave.

In my opinion it was good while it lasted, but now they are streamlining the scheme, and making some budget gains in the process.

The changes don't start until July 1 next year, so it won't affect anyone currently pregnant.

That means that couples now have a choice as to whether or not they start their family if their maternity leave entitlements are to be reduced.

But quite frankly, if you can't afford to have a child without two lots of paid parental leave, then I would be re-thinking the whole thing anyway.

Kids aren't cheap and they don't get any less expensive as they get older.

Couples need to take some personal responsibility here and stop whining about what they will be missing out on.

If you want to stay home for a year or more, earn the money to support yourself first, or make sure you can support that decision. Don't rely on exorbitant amounts of paid leave to do it.

Having a baby and raising a family is a decision that is made by the people involved.

The government doesn't tell you to have kids. The government doesn't make you have kids. The idea that the government must pay for people to have kids is quite ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong. Having a family is expensive. It does put a big strain on finances and cost of daycare and schools are rising all the time.

I think we should help ease the burden on families, and in turn keep families spending money and helping the economy.

I just don't think that government assistance should be a part of your budget and relied upon as income. It should just be a helping hand.

The other thing that really gets to me about all the complaining, is that from what I can see, a big proportion of the 20% affected are public servants, as in their wage is paid for by the tax-payer.

So they are taking tax-payer paid leave from their employer and then also taking paid leave from the tax payer with the paid parental leave scheme.

I can see why the government has thought that theirs was a simple solution, and I can't see why people have a problem with it.

Topics:  federal budget opinion parents

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