Cutting the cord: universal paid maternity leave and the baby bonus in Australia

Anderson, Marilyn (2008) Cutting the cord: universal paid maternity leave and the baby bonus in Australia. In: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2008: re-imagining sociology, pp. 1-21. From: Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2008: re-imagining sociology, 2-5 December 2008, University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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Abstract

The perceived demographic imperative to increase the total fertility rate in Australia gave rise to the creation of the lump-sum Baby Bonus, one part of a suite of pronatalist family-friendly incentives introduced by the Howard Federal Government in 2004. This paper considers the evolution of the Baby Bonus, and suggests that it has been entangled erroneously with universal paid maternity leave, a cord that needs to be cut. The former belongs inside a welfare paradigm as financial support for the costs of a new child; the latter belongs to a human rights paradigm, because without income replacement, employment security and superannuation continuity, a female worker (and her family) is penalised for having a child. If paid maternity leave has been a 'poorly understood concept in Australian scholarship' (Baird 2004:260), the lump-sum Baby Bonus has been even more so, but its contribution has been to help usher in a contentious, long-awaited, universal paid maternity leave scheme.

Item ID: 14840
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: universal paid maternity leave; social policy; Baby Bonus; mother; Australia
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ISBN: 978-0-7340-3984-2
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2011 05:32
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health @ 40%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 30%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940105 Childrens/Youth Services and Childcare @ 30%
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