We have a chance to make a real impact in the lives of our children, by extending the time parents are supported to spend with their new baby. The Paid Parental Leave Bill is currently before Parliament and would increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks.
The Bill is on the cusp of making its way through its first reading with the support of all of the opposition parties with 61 votes. Right now there are only a couple of opposition MP that have yet to have signalled their support. With a massive wave of public support for the bill we can convince all opposition parties to support the bill through its first reading and build up enough support that the Government wouldn’t even consider a financial veto.
Research shows that longer paid parental leave means better health for the mother and child, women are able to participate better in the workforce and we support families through a hard time with financial support - this is good for babies, their family and the communities they live in.
New Zealand is lagging behind other countries in terms of the paid parental leave we offer. In the UK, all female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity (or adoption) leave, 40 weeks of which is paid, with the first six weeks paid at 90% of full pay and the remainder at a fixed rate. This ensures families can have the quality time they need caring for their new born baby. In Sweden, parents receive 16 months paid parental leave.
We can change this by acting now to get opposition parties on board to support parents spending more time with their babies by passing the Paid Parental Leave Bill for 26 weeks of paid parental leave.
Supporters urge National not to veto paid parental leave bill, NZ Herald, Aug 26, 2015
NZ behind in paid parental leave, stuff.co.nz, April 1 2015