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Government Ditches Potty Idea

26 April 2005

Government Ditches Potty Idea

Federated Farmers is pleased the self-employed will not have to prove loss of earnings to receive paid parental leave, said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

His comments follow the government announcing it would extend New Zealand’s paid parental leave scheme to the self-employed. This legislation is to be introduced to Parliament this year and come into force from 1 July 2006.

"After analysing the detail in the government's statement, it is pleasing to see an assurance that 14 weeks paid parental leave will be available to all self-employed women working at least 10 hours a week in the six months before the birth or adoption of a child.

"The Federation was aware that some government advisors had proposed that self- employed women would be required to prove loss of income while taking time off work to look after their baby. Federated Farmers response was that this was totally unacceptable, and we are pleased Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson ensured the idea was abandoned.

"It resembled the totally unfair system that ACC used to apply to injured self-employed people – a system that Federated Farmers also successfully scuttled five years ago," he said.

"It is pleasing that payments will be based on previous earnings -- meaning there will be no requirement to prove that a mother’s earnings have dropped as a result of taking time off," Mr Pedersen said.

"We have lobbied hard over the past three years for equity for the self employed. We have lately been the only lobby group calling for paid parental leave to be extended. This announcement vindicates all our hard work."

Federated Farmers will continue to monitor the legislation as it is drafted to ensure that self-employed New Zealanders are not treated unfairly compared to other employees.

"This announcement is another example of Federated Farmers delivering positive outcomes for all farmers," Mr Pedersen said.


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