Productivity Commission interim report on paid parental leave. Some criticism has revolved around the failure to mandate payment by employers of current salary levels as a top up, but it’s likely that this would occur anyway for skilled workers, and the whole point of the scheme is to extend rights that skilled workers already enjoy or have the bargaining power to access to all. — Larvatus Prodeo

The latest on government-funded parental leave. On the one hand, I’m impressed that they indicate that even mothers who are employed casually, on contract, or self-employed will receive “leave” (it’s unlikely that I will ever work outside of my home office ever again, so the idea that I might be able to receive pay if and when I have a baby is very reassuring, when freelancing is uncertain work at the best of times!). On the other hand, I have no idea whether the proposed period of leave – 18 weeks – is long enough (Britain is currently looking at increasing their leave period from 26 to 52 weeks), and I agree, in essence, with Abbott in questioning whether stay-at-home mums are getting stiffed. — The Dawn Chorus

Some mothers worth more than others. Should a working woman earning more than $100,000-a-year with a husband on a similar wicket get $5000 more upfront under a taxpayer-funded paid maternity scheme than a struggling stay-at-home mum? The Productivity Commission has today delivered an unashamed and enthusiastic yes. — Samantha Maiden, The Australian

Recent taxpayer losses. The Productivity Commission recommends 18 weeks paid maternity leave with the government contributing $450 million a year and employers footing the bill for super contributions. On the bright side it could have been worse of course. Employers could have ended up footing the bill for the whole thing and the PC does recommend scrapping the baby bonus. Still, the Commission appears to have travelled a long way from when it was being demonised as hyper-economic rationalists and small government zealots. — Catallaxy

Peter Fray

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