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ASTA Supports Green Changes To Paid Parental Leave

Students Support Green Changes To Paid Parental Leave

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA) strongly supports the proposed amendments to the Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Act put forward by the Green Party.

“These amendments match the key recommendations made by ATSA in its submission on Paid Parental Leave,” said ATSA President Julie Pettett. “Like the Greens, ATSA called for the amount of paid leave to be increased from 12 to 14 weeks to meet international minimum standards. ATSA also suggested that workers who have had more than one employer should still qualify for PPL, and that those with student loans should not be charged interest and not be required to make loan repayments for the duration of the paid parental leave.”

“While ATSA supports the introduction of Paid Parental Leave, we are concerned that, in its current form, this bill will unfairly penalise large groups of women, particularly those who have been studying prior to giving birth,” stated Pettett.

ATSA is particularly concerned that under this legislation women with student loans who receive paid parental leave, will generally find that their loans grow in size. The resulting debt-escalation is disturbing, given existing disparities in student loan repayment times between men and women.

“To achieve a ‘knowledge society’, we need to encourage new parents to persist with their studies, and support them in their education. We can do this by making small changes such as writing off interest on student loans during the payment of PPL,” stated Pettett.

“ATSA is delighted to see a political party taking a stance which is pro-student and will have a positive impact on families, communities and society,” said Pettett. “We applaud the Greens for having the sense to listen and act on student concerns. We also hope that other political parties will see the logic and importance of supporting the Green Party’s proposed amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Bill next week. ATSA will be watching how parties vote with interest, to see an early indication of the position they will take on tertiary education issues in election year”.


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