Latest newsletter #153 Click to read online

Discrimination Against Single Income Families

Babette Francis

"Prime Minister Tony Abbott has referred his Paid Parental Leave policy to the Productivity Commission to be included in its Inquiry into the Child Care sector. This is an opportunity for all of us concerned about the plight of parents who prefer to have one parent out of the paid workforce to care for pre-school children, to make submissions to the Inquiry.

* Single-income families get only one tax-free threshold of $18,000 while a two-income family gets $36,000 tax free.

* The child care subsidy is not means tested and mothers who place their children in care can receive $7,500 while mothers not in the paid workforce receive no child care subsidy although all mothers need some baby-sitting for reasons such as visits to the doctor, dentist etc. An equitable policy would be to offer all mothers the same subsidy but allow mothers in the paid workforce tax deductions for child care costs over and above the subsidy.

* Paid Parental Leave for mothers in the paid workforce is treated as a workforce entitlement while payments to mothers not in the paid workforce are treated as welfare. This is unfair as mothers caring for children at home are doing the same work as child care workers in a creche whose payment is subsidized by taxpayers.

* Tony Abbott's paid parental leave policy is NOT a workforce entitlement because it is not paid for by the mother's employer (many of whom offer their own maternity leave payments) but by a GREAT BIG NEW TAX ON BUSINESS, for which we will all have to pay in higher costs at supermarkets etc. The argument that the latter also receive salary-based remuneration for annual leave is fallacious because that payment is covered by the employer and not by a GREAT BIG NEW TAX ON BUSINESS, further subsidized by the government, i.e. ultimately paid for by consumers and taxpayers and not by the mother's employer.

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