So today of all days, in Australia, the idiot politicians announced a raft of reforms to childcare and paid parental leave. Naturally, all of these will impact us. Negatively. In an area where waitlists for daycare places can be 2.5 YEARS long, where fees can be up to $160 a day, they are capping govt childcare subsidies to a % of $110 a day. That’s $110 a day in 2017…..
They also did a major backflip on paid parental leave. Their government was elected with a promise of a “rolls Royce” scheme, where the 18 weeks paid parental leave would be based on a woman’s ACTUAL salary….the existing scheme was freely available but at a basic wage. Which was fine…because it did the job, and it improved things a lot. And you got it whether or not your employer had maternity leave.
Today, they announced if your employer has GOOD maternity leave (ie better than the government one) , you get no government paid parental leave at all. There’s an incentive for employers to look after women, eh? It’s hard to explain it all here, so many of us are still sketchy on the details, government included, I suspect.
It just so happens the fool that announced this is my local member of parliament. ie we actually vote him into his seat (or not, in my case). Here is a copy of the letter I just sent him, in lieu of a punch in the face.
Dear Joe Hockey (this just autocorrected to Joke hockey. I think it could stick)
Happy Mother’s Day to you too.
You are our local member. In an electorate full of families. Hard working families.
And you undermine all of this hard work by an ill thought out, back flipping scheme, doing a 180 degree turn on electoral promises.
The most offensive aspect of all of the announcements this weekend, and there’s a few to choose from, is your blatant disregard for women and their careers. By taking an electoral promise and twisting it, until you rip women off.
The 18 weeks paid parental leave was the ONLY THING that kept this household afloat during maternity leave. I had been on 6 months bedrest, with no income. Funnily enough, that wasn’t planned. But it cleaned us out.
So by the time the baby came, we had less than nothing. We had a very generous maternity leave scheme, with 40 weeks half pay from my employer, but we were starting with debts, not savings. The paid parental leave scheme was the difference between paying all the bills, and not paying the bills, given I was formerly the main earner in our household. Stick that in your misogynistic pipe and smoke it.
In case you haven’t noticed in your precious nannied up world up there way about the common people, daycare fees around here are NOTHING like $110 a day. In case you hadn’t noticed, Australia is way behind the OECD on it’s childcare and maternity leave. Way behind. In ,any industries over 50% of university graduates are women, yet they comprise less than 10% of senior management.
Why? Because childcare and maternity leave are a woman’s issue. Because it is OUR career that is affected when these things are unavailable. Because people like me had to delay their return from mat leave because THEY COULDN’T GET A CHILDCARE PLACE.
So what do you do? You undermine us. You increase the division. You reinforce the existing barriers. Cue the slow clap, Joe.
Happy Mother’s Day.
I’ve posted this email on my blog, Facebook, and I’ll think about where else to send it. Stop letting men write women’s policy. And wake up to the realities of your electorate. And don’t ever knock on my door. Because I’ll slam it in your face.