Double-up parental leave cut

Thousands of WA women face losing cash when they give birth, with the Federal Government to close a loophole that allows them to claim two parental leave payments.

Tomorrow's Budget will contain a $1 billion saving aimed at State public servants and privately employed women.

Currently, new parents can claim both the Federal parental leave payment and tap their State or private systems.

The Federal scheme pays the minimum wage of $641 a week for 18 weeks and WA public servants can take 14 weeks of paid maternity leave at their ordinary pay rate.

Many private firms, particularly in the mining sector, offer new mothers their wage for up to six months.

By preventing people from claiming both, the Government believes it can save $1 billion over the next four years.

But it could encourage States and companies to wind back their own schemes so that their staff pick up the Federal money.

The WA Government's scheme costs about $55 million a year.

Shane Wright, Andrew Probyn

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