Why PPL matters to parents

The federal government’s attack on paid parental leave is likely to have a devastating impact on Queensland parents, and no one knows that better than those who have benefitted from the existing arrangements.

A combination of employer and federal government PPL enabled Louise Loriaux, a music and drama teacher and QTU Union Rep, to spend the first year of son Finn’s life with him, and despite the insults hurled at parents like her and husband Sean by some politicians, she wouldn’t have done anything different.

Explaining why it is so important to oppose the government’s plans, Louise (pictured with Finn) said: “We were able to stretch out my maternity leave from what would have been around six months to just over a year. It’s actually really hard to put into words how important it has been – it has meant the world to me and it has been the best and most treasured time of my life.

“It eased the financial pressure and I therefore didn’t have to rush back to work. Without it, the financial pressure would not have allowed me to stay home as long as I did and would have forced us to make choices we wouldn’t want to make for our child.

“It also meant that we could delay Finn’s start date with day care until he was a little bit older and I felt more comfortable sending him. That was something that I’m really glad of, because my husband and I didn’t feel our son was ready to go to day care at the age we would have had to send him without PPL. That’s been brilliant for him, and it’s given me peace of mind, knowing that I could keep him with me.

“Just spending that extra time together has just allowed us to have a really strong bond.
“I feel so blessed to have been able to stay at home with my baby boy for just over a year, through such a precious and special time, to be there for it all. It may not be the choice of every mother to do so – and supporting and celebrating everyone’s own choices is what being a mum these days is all about – but for me it allowed me to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I was able to be there while he was a little baby, for all the firsts and cuddles; to be the kind of mother I felt I needed to be at that time.

“You can’t put a price on any of this, and it if makes me a ‘rorter’ – then I’m proud to say I am!”

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 No 1, 5 February 2016, p15