Open Letter to the Leader of the Opposition regarding the Coalition’s Parental Leave Proposal

On 8 March 2010, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott outlined the Coalition’s parental leave proposal.

The Business Council of Australia appreciates the Opposition’s aim to encourage workforce participation and work–family balance.

But, in this open letter, BCA CEO Katie Lahey calls on the Opposition to more closely consider the inevitable pitfalls of the approach outlined on 8 March 2010.

In the letter, Katie Lahey explains that:

  • The BCA supports the idea of universal, federally-funded income replacement to allow women to take leave after giving birth and has long argued that access to paid maternity leave, as well as reasonably priced, high quality childcare, is an important piece of the workforce participation policy 'jigsaw.'
  • BCA members already take their responsibilities in this area seriously and the majority already offer paid maternity leave averaging 12 to 14 weeks.
  • BCA members have led the way and several have been recognised through national awards for practices that facilitate work–family balance.

The proposed scheme places a new tax burden on business at a time when governments around the world are lowering company tax to encourage economic growth.

Its structure also leaves the scheme vulnerable to the peaks and troughs of the economic cycle.

In the letter, Katie Laheyoffers to take part in Coalition consultations on the scheme.

Read the BCA’s open letter to Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, regarding the Coalition’s parental leave proposal, by clicking on the link below.