HELPING small business and reducing childcare costs will be key factors for the Coalition when restructuring its paid parental leave scheme, says Farrer MP Sussan Ley.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced at the weekend he would be working during the summer to reform his signature policy to win support from the Senate.
Ms Ley, who will contribute her ideas to the new scheme, said she spoke to Mr Abbott on Sunday about their options to create a holistic family policy.
She would not confirm what was planned.
“I think these are sensible changes,” she said.
“I’ll be working with the Prime Minister and other ministers to support what will be a policy that is all about families.
“I think it is a really commonsense move at what for the government has been a difficult time because of the budget repair task we have and the Senate that we’re facing.”
Ms Ley said paid parental leave was a workplace entitlement, not a welfare benefit.
She said the amended scheme would also allow small businesses to have access to a scheme and they wouldn’t have to compete with larger organisations with already established, well-resourced paid parental leave plans.
“The small business owner will not have to pay so I think that’s vital,” Ms Ley said.
She said the Prime Minister had also announced money would be taken from the previous paid parental leave plan to boost the childcare policy.
“That will come through our response to the Productivity Commission’s final report so it will help families,” she said.
“It will help families when they are having children and it will help families when their children are going to childcare.”
Ms Ley said she had travelled the country, visiting hundreds of centres and meeting families and women with children in childcare.
She said it was clear a system needed to be implemented which allowed women to tap into childcare options that suited their work.