‘Double dipping’ public servant parents lose twice

Public sector workers using both employer and government-sponsored paid parental leave have been accused of “double dipping”. As a result they’re set to lose both the wages they originally sacrificed for their existing scheme and the value of the scheme itself.

In times of fiscal austerity, governments as employers seek to curb labour costs. This is currently occurring within the Australian public service. One way of reducing costs is to limit wage rises and reduce conditions of employment through enterprise negotiations. The Australian government has suggested savings could be made through negotiating reduced sick leave. On top of this, public servants look set to lose a parental leave payment.

Reports have suggested 80,000 employees including public servants will be worse off by $11,500 after the government announced employees would no longer be entitled to receive parental leave pay from the Australian government, as well as PPL from their employer, should the latest proposal ever make it through parliament.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s original “signature” paid parental leave policy would have provided mothers with 26 weeks parental leave pay at an employee’s replacement wage.

My research, using the average salary of a public servant who works in one of the core public sector agencies in NSW (such as a government department, as opposed to those working in the wider public sector, for example, teachers or nurses), shows a female employee would have been approximately $6,000 better off under this policy.

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