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Union tells Senate PPL benefits workers, government

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has called on senators to ignore the “government’s political rhetoric used against working nurses, midwives and AINs” surrounding changes to the current paid parental leave (PPL) scheme.

The group said PPL provides the right balance between work and family commitments and encourages gender equity.

ANMF members travelled to Canberra yesterday to give evidence to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee. There they warned of the detrimental effects changes to the current PPL scheme would have on families.

ANMF federal secretary Lee Thomas told the Senate committee that the existing system allows nurses, midwives and AINs to maximise the time they can spend with their newborns, to breastfeed and bond, leading to improved mental and physical health for both mother and baby.

Annie Butler, ANMF assistant federal secretary, said there was also quite a lot of research about the benefits of government-provided PPL for workers, employers, governments and the community.

She said it had been shown to increase performance, profitability, employee morale, retention rates and workforce participation rates among women, and also reduced staff turnover and led to longer-term improved wages.

Lee said: “Nurses, midwives and AINs were very disappointed when the government not only reneged on its pre-election commitment to increasing PPL but then announced plans for retractions of current arrangements for PPL."

She added the government’s comments about working women double-dipping on PPL were offensive and untrue. “Many of our members have told us that they are thinking about starting or adding to their families in the future – that’s why the ANMF is asking the Senate to focus on the real reason women take paid parental leave.

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