For the ladies…

Well, mostly just for Stuss… She might like to see an article in the SMH that made the same case as her letter to the government.

Women, and in particular mothers, are harshly treated by Australia’s system. They are damned if they return to work after childbirth, and damned if they don’t.

Those who do, face high tax rates because of income tax incurred and welfare benefits withdrawn. Working just a few hours a week and earning $11,000 a year can mean mothers lose 56.5 cents in every dollar in tax and benefits.

But the longer women do not work, the longer they miss out on employer contributions to superannuation. Women’s super balances are woefully inadequate. Those aged 60 to 65 have saved a tiny average of $45,000, compared with men of the same age who have $130,000 stashed away. While mothers face punitive tax penalties for working, rich men receive generous tax concessions on their super payouts.

It’s a good article looking at one issue facing stay at home mums.

9 thoughts on “For the ladies…”

  1. Maybe this would be a good topic – leave green out of it for a while.

    Then you can invite Benny in to make all the anti-maternity-leave comments he made to me last time I talked to him and see what happens.

  2. It is pretty sad that in a nation that claims to value families women are effectively punished for having children.

  3. Also, don’t think the ‘for the ladies’ title is that accurate.

    This affects men as well – reduces a couple’s retirement income, let alone a family’s income with young children. Plus how many children they have, when they have children, the expectations of the father and his earning capacity. etc etc.

  4. I don’t put too much thought into titles anymore. I’ve had to do 1294 of them – so just avoiding double ups is a plus.

  5. I don’t know whether I feel more chuffed that you posted an article for me, or that you referred to me as a lady.

    Unfortunately, I think the rest of the article seemed to suggest that the system needs to be improved so that it is easier for mothers to return to work. I’m hesistant about anything that encourages mothers back to work.

  6. Paid maternity leave would encourage/make it easier for women to stay at home with young children without having to worry about a) losing their house and b) losing their job. The addition of flexible working hours would also make a huge difference for people to be able to juggle care and working.

    Many friends I know have no choice but to go back to work after using up their holidays – they just could not pay a mortgage in Brisbane on one wage (and I’m not talking McMansion mortgages here, talking very average first houses).

    I think the point the article was making was that women are effectively punished for even taking on a small amount of paid work.

  7. I want to clarify the last point I made.

    The point being that if you need that bit extra than a single income (which many do), and women effectively lose money by taking a part time job (where informal care is far easier to arrange with friends/family), women have no choice but to return to full time work to gain that extra money – meaning children have to be put into full time care, which certainly I don’t think is an ideal situation.

  8. I’m not opposed to paid maternity leave, or women returning to work. I’m just hesitant, for two reasons. One is that I’m not sure what the huge numbers of children put out of their mother’s full time care and into someone else’s care, no matter how good, is going to play out long term in society. And how it will affect our education system.
    The second is that I think stay home mums are becoming less and less valued in society. I think if I had a dollar for every time I have been asked when I’m going back to work, and for every time I’ve been treated like I must be an uneducated ditz because I’m at the shops with a toddler on my hip, I would be one very rich woman! The Productivity Commission’s report on paid parental leave made it quite clear that stay home mums are a burden on the taxpayer.

    I would like to see more flexible work arrangements. For example, my friend, who is an accountant, is home full time with her son, but still does contract work for her previous employer, in a different city. She doesn’t need the money, but expects she will probably go back to work part time when her kids are at school and wants to be able to keep her finger in the industry. My teacher registration expires at the end of this year, I think, but I know that if I need to go back to work (I don’t necessarily intend to do so at this point), then it’s a matter of going back to a provisional registration and completing a refresher course. Those sort of things are more helpful, I think, that paid maternity and tax benefits, because they do give women legitimate options.

    Mothers return to work for many and varied reasons, financial necessity being only one of them.

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