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FOR – Bills — Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023; in Committee

Anne Ruston

by leave—I move opposition amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 2198 revised together:

(1) Schedule 1, items 16 and 17, page 11 (line 2) to page 13 (line 17), omit "this Act" (wherever occurring), substitute "this Schedule".

(2) Page 14 (after line 18), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 2 — Other amendments

Paid Parental Leave Act 2010

1 Section 6

Insert:

small business employer: see subsection 101(7).

2 After paragraph 101(1)(c)

Insert:

(ca) the employer is not a small business employer; and

3 Subsection 101(2)

Omit "and (c)", substitute ", (c) and (ca)".

4 At the end of section 101

Add:

Meaning of small business employer

(7) An employer is a small business employer at a particular time if the employer employs fewer than 20 employees at that time.

5 Subparagraph 207(3)(a)(i)

Omit "or (c)", substitute ", (c) or (ca)".

6 Subsection 207(3) (note 2)

Omit "and (c)", substitute ", (c) and (ca)".

7 Subparagraph 224(2)(a)(i)

Omit "or (c)", substitute ", (c) or (ca)".

8 Subsection 224(2) (note 2)

Omit "and (c)", substitute ", (c) and (ca)".

9 Application of amendments

The amendments of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 made by this Schedule apply in relation to claims made on or after the commencement of this item.

Malarndirri McCarthy

The government opposes these amendments. While those opposite have characterised parental leave as a welfare scheme, the government shares the view of the Productivity Commission, women's groups, family advocates, economists and trade unions. Paid parental leave is a workplace entitlement that should be administered by employers. Administering the payment is a reasonable contribution from employers, who significantly benefit from the government providing PPL to their employees. Each year the government spends around $460 million to provide PPL to employees in small businesses, and this directly contributes to higher retention rates for employees in small businesses, particularly women. Without the government payment, many employees in small businesses would not have access to any paid parental leave. This bill, which increases the scheme by an extra six weeks, is good for all employers and workers, as is our commitment to pay super on PPL from July 2025.

Anne Ruston

I wasn't going to make a contribution, but, given the comments that we just heard from the minister opposite, I want to put very clearly on the record that the opposition has never referred to paid parental leave as a welfare scheme. I would ask her to reflect on coming in here and making comments that are clearly inaccurate. The opposition, when it was in government, was actually the first party to move on paid parental leave. We have a strong record of supporting government funded paid parental leave. It's important to note that the Labor government and the Greens are 14 years late on this particular policy. The coalition's paid parental leave policy, taken to the 2010 and 2013 federal election campaigns, included providing superannuation in the Commonwealth paid parental scheme, only for it to be opposed by Labor and the Greens. The minister has come in here and made these ridiculous false statements. I think the record of the coalition on this particular issue is absolutely documented by vote after vote and policy after policy for many, many years. To come in here and try to diminish the contribution of the coalition in relation to paid parental leave as a legislated workplace entitlement for women to make sure that they can choose to take time off to look after their children but remain connected to the workplace is, I think, an absolute disgrace and reflects terribly on you, Minister, and your government.

Malarndirri McCarthy

I appreciate your response there, Senator Ruston. What I would like to point out is that my reference was to those opposite who've characterised parental leave as a welfare scheme, and I do believe you may wish to have a discussion with Senator Paterson about his statement to the media on it.

Andrew McLachlan

The question is that amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 2198 revised moved together by leave by Senator Ruston be agreed to.

Summary

Date and time: 12:03 PM on 2024-03-18
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 28
Total number of "no" votes: 32
Total number of abstentions: 16
Related bill: Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023

Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au