New Zealand to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks

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Jacinda Ardern

Wellington, November 6, 2017

Parents can look forward to 26 weeks paid parental leave by July 2020 as part of the Labour-led government’s promise to better support working families with new-born and young children.

Cabinet today decided to increase the duration of parental leave entitlements to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, extending further to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020. We will be introducing legislation to Parliament to give effect to this week.

This is a key part of our Families Package and one all three parties of government have been proud to support because it’s the right thing to do.

Best Start for children

We want children to have the best start in life. Evidence shows having a parent at home as long as possible to care for a child provides a huge benefit for that child’s development.

Some 28,000 parents currently enjoy 18 weeks of paid parental leave, but that is one of the lowest in the OECD. We know that many primary care givers want to spend longer with their babies. We can do better, and we will.

Affordable expenditure

The increased support for working families has a net cost of $325 million over the four-year forecast period, which is what we budgeted for and fits within our fiscal plan.

This is an investment in families that will benefit children and all of society.

Today, we are proudly delivering on another key pledge in our 100 Day Plan. We promised we would be a government of action and that means we’re moving quickly to make changes, so that we can improve the well-being of New Zealanders.

Jacinda Ardern is the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Human Rights Commission welcomes move

Jackie Blue

The Human Rights Commission has today welcomed news that the Government will be introducing legislation to extend the amount of Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks by 2020.

The announcement will be welcome news to kiwi families who want to spend more time with their new babies by lessening financial pressures.

Spending time with a newborn is so important for mums and dads, as well as the baby. It is great to see the Government is providing them with the funding that will enable them to do this.

It is important that the discussion around this legislation also encourages more dads to share the Parental leave allowance where possible.

Mums who take time out of their career to look after their children generally never make up any ground they lose in that time. I hope that their leave extension will encourage more dads to take leave as well to help close the gender pay gap and lessen the impact of the motherhood penalty.

Dr Jackie Blue is Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission.

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