Paid parental leave changes to punish pregnant women

Lisa Chesters MP will next week advocate for families across central Victoria when she speaks in Parliament about the Liberal Government’s controversial proposal to alter the conditions of paid parental leave.

The proposal will leave 80,000 new parents each year almost $12,000 a year worse off, placing the plans of already pregnant women into chaos.

Ms Chesters said the legislation, due to start on January 1, is simply not fair.

“Women have every right to access the paid parental leave agreements that they have negotiated with their employer and top up with the Government’s minimum wage scheme.

“If you’ve been able to negotiate a parental leave top up at the expensive of a pay rise, you should still be allowed to access that.

“The Government has put a lot of families’ plans into chaos. These changes will affect women that are already pregnant and who have already established their plans. This is not fair and it is not right.”

Ms Chesters has spoken to concerned families and local healthcare professionals about the changes and will present their views and concerns at Parliament.

Bendigo lactation consultant (IBCLC) Jennifer Hurrell said the Government should not be forcing women back to work before they are ready.

“The first three months after birth is a critical time for a mum and baby in terms of recovery time, breastfeeding and attachment to a primary carer. The current paid parental leave model allows that time.

“If the Government takes it away, it’ll mean that some mums are made to return to work before they are physically or mentally ready. By doing this we will be depriving mother and baby the time to stabilise as a family.”

Ms Chesters called on the Senate crossbench to block the legislation.

“This was originally Tony Abbott’s legislation, which Malcolm Turnbull has brought back in the hope it will pass in the new Senate.

“It was blocked in the last Senate, and I call on the crossbenchers to listen to central Victorian healthcare professionals and mothers and block it again.

“The proposal demonstrates how cruel this government is and how Malcolm Turnbull is the same as Tony Abbott.”