Statement from Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia, on the government’s proposed changes to the paid parental leave payment

Date issued: 22 August 2013

“Today the Prime Minister appears to have claimed credit for undoing his own mistake.

Kevin Rudd’s announcement that a re-elected Labor government will remove small business from having to make payments to employees eligible under the current paid parental leave scheme is the scrapping of a burden imposed by his own government in 2011.

While the government’s admission that it got the policy wrong is welcome, the harsh reality remains that small business has been saddled with unnecessary paperwork and administration costs for nearly three years.

From the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Paid Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave in 2008 to the passage of the government’s law, CPA Australia lobbied the government hard to say that the requirement for the employer to be involved in transferring parental leave pay from the government to the eligible employee was illogical and would be an unnecessary burden on business.

The business community has already noted that the Opposition’s alternative parental leave scheme removes this burden, with payments to go directly from government to eligible recipients.

The obvious question is, why did it take until this election campaign -- and the compliance burden being imposed on business for nearly three years -- for the government to listen and act?

The unshackling of business is a priority. Whoever forms the next government needs a strong focus on reducing red tape to boost business confidence and create an environment for business to create jobs.

Business leaders are carefully studying both policy and the record of the major parties on red tape. Claiming credit for reducing red tape you yourself created will struggle to pass muster.”

Media Contact: Stuart Dignam on 03 9606 9798.