‘It’s unfair’: Week by week, guide to pregnancy and wages

Emily Ryan is the first to admit that the new paid parental leave scheme isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start. Or at least it would be if the Federal Government had made it easier to qualify for.

The Registered Nurse returned to work this week after having her second child, three-week-old Arlo. While this time around she has been able to access the scheme, that wasn’t the case when her daughter was born in 2019.

“There were a few factors that worked against me,” the 32-year-old told Nine.com.au. “Firstly, I hadn’t been in the same role long enough. Secondly, I hadn’t earned enough. I was about $2000 short and I just couldn’t make up the hours.

“It’s unfair. They say it’s a scheme to help parents, but it’s not helping very many.”

According to Australian Council of Trade Unions, more than 50,000 working mums have been ineligible for paid parental leave since the scheme was introduced three years ago.

“This is a huge number and leaves too many Australian families out of pocket,” ACTU President Michele O’Neil said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The scheme is too hard to access and not enough working mums are benefiting from it. Too many working families are missing out on this vital support – and it’s time for the Federal Government to do something about it.”

Families Minister Anne Ruston says the government is aware of the issue and is “continuing to monitor the scheme’s operation”.

“The Paid Parental Leave scheme is just one part of the government’s broader suite of family support measures, which also include the Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Subsidy and the recently announced $1500 Parental Leave Payment,” she said in a statement.

But Ms Ryan says these other measures are no substitute for paid parental leave.

“That $1500 is a start, but it’s not going to cover my mortgage repayments for six months,” she said.

“The only thing that’s going to make a difference is increasing the length of paid parental leave and making it easier for working mums to qualify.”

Paid parental leave: What you need to know

– The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides up to 18 weeks of paid time off for eligible working parents.

– To be eligible, you must:
– Have been employed by your current employer for at least 12 months
– Have earned at least $150,000 in the 12 months before the birth or adoption of your child
– Not have received paid parental leave from another employer in the past 12 months

– The rate of pay is equal to the national minimum wage, which is currently $772.60 per week.

– You can apply for Paid Parental Leave through Centrelink.

– For more information, visit the Centrelink website.

What are your experiences with paid parental leave? Have you been able to access the scheme? Let us know in the comments below.

What are your thoughts on the paid parental leave scheme? Do you think it needs to be improved?

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

**Additional resources:**

– [Paid Parental Leave scheme](https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/paid-parental-leave).

– [ACTU campaign for paid parental leave](https://www.actu.org.au/campaigns/paid-parental-leave).

– [The Parenthood](https://www.theparenthood.org.au/)

– [Tresillian](https://www.tresillian.org.au/).

**Disclaimer:** The information provided in this article is intended for general knowledge purposes only and should not be taken as financial or legal advice. It is recommended that you seek professional advice before making any financial or legal decisions.

**Author:** Emily Ryan

**Date:** 11th March 2022.

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