Govt should look at every option to keep parents in work

EDITORIAL: The Federal Government's decision to scrap the $5000 baby bonus has been one of the most criticised items on its newly released Budget.

Along with the decision to abandon a promised boost to Family Tax Benefit part A, and the move to freeze the maximum rate for childcare fees instead of raising it in line with indexation, the Budget has proved to be far from family friendly.

I found the decisions particularly interesting in light of Tony Abbott's generous paid parental scheme, that would pay new stay-at-home mothers their full wage - up to $150,000 a year - for six months after the birth.

Abbott copped a lot of flak for his poorly worded comments about encouraging "women of calibre" to have children, and also from big businesses which would be the ones footing the bill.

But many people seem to have overlooked one major point - that for many parents, particularly those who have steady jobs, government money or lack thereof is not what drives the decision on whether to have children.

The bigger problem is whether they will be able to return to their careers once their child is born.

For mums and dads who want to work, government money would be better spent on encouraging workplaces to be more flexible in their arrangements, ensuring their careers aren't "mum-tracked" into part-time work or less senior roles.

The government should be looking at every option to keep parents in the workforce instead of just handing them cash.



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