Crackdown on ‘double dippers’ is back

Crackdown on paid parental leave will be back in parliament this week.

PARENTAL leave “double dippers” will be targeted once again when the federal government makes a fresh attempt to pull back entitlements this week.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter will take a bill to parliament on Thursday to stop pregnant women claiming paid parental leave from the government and their employer.

The controversial measure was first put forward in the 2015 Budget, with then-treasurer Joe Hockey describing it as “double dipping”.

The policy was a sharp turnaround from the “rolled gold” scheme then-prime minister Tony Abbott took to the 2013 election, and was expected to save $1 billion over four years.

But the government was not able to get the measure passed through the Senate and the Turnbull Government announced in April that it had shelved the plans.

Despite this, it still remained part of the Coalition’s election platform.

Currently, new parents are entitled to 18 weeks of paid parental leave at the minimum wage, which works out as $11,826 per household.

Instead of providing parents with 18 weeks of leave on top of what they get from their employers, the Coalition wants to “top up” leave that parents get from employers so they get a total of 18 weeks.

While Mr Hockey chose to describe it as “double dipping”, Mr Porter believes it is a question of equity.

The minister told the National Press Club last month some people earning up to $150,000 a year could receive $30,000 in parenting payments from an employer as well as $12,000 from taxpayers.

About three per cent of mums who have accessed the government-funded leave over the past five years earned more than $120,000.

An ABC survey taken during the election campaign found 58 per cent of voters believed government payments should not be made available if an employer was also making paid leave available.

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