04/06/2008 - 22:00

In Brief: Conditional support for parental leave

04/06/2008 - 22:00

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A FEDERAL government-funded parental leave scheme should not be committed to without first undertaking a comprehensive investigation into the impact on business, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA. The CCI last week appeared before the Productivity Commission as part of its national inquiry into the benefits of providing paid maternity, paternity and parental leave to Australians. The CCI said it supported paid parental leave on the condition that it was fully government funded and administered, and that business should not be expected to foot the bill for any future compulsory scheme. In its submission to the Productivity Commission, CCI favours a 14-week parental leave scheme paid at the rate of the federal minimum wage. CCI is seeking assurances that the introduction of paid parental leave will not be an additional regulatory burden on small, medium, and large businesses. Western Australian employers are looking to the federal government to uphold its pre-election commitment that it will not impose additional costs and red-tape on business. The CCI said that, with labour shortages remaining, the greatest challenge for businesses across the state, employers are also concerned that it will become increasingly difficult to recruit new staff on short-term contracts to backfill parental leave vacancies.

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