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Tertiary students applaud parental leave extension

Female tertiary students applaud extension of parental leave entitlement

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association – Te Whanau Tauira o Aotearoa (ATSA) welcomes the planned changes to the Parental Leave and Employment Act announced by the government.

“Providing paid parental leave to women who have worked for less than a year with an employer will benefit students and recent graduates,” ATSA President Julie Pettett said. “Women with large student loan debts who have just begun their working careers and need leave to care give newborn children can only benefit from this change.”

ATSA is especially pleased that this government has listened to the concerns its women’s group (AWA) and other organisations raised in submissions on the bill in 2002. “Although students may not always agree with the decisions made by this government, they do appreciate ministers and senior advisors who engage in meaningful consultation,” Pettett stated. “These welcome changes to paid parental leave entitlements further confirms the worth of genuine consultation.”

Students and their families look forward to decisions about the level of financial support that will be announced in this year’s budget. “Although the government has clearly signalled that this budget will very much focus on assisting low income families, students will be expecting substantial movement in raising the lower threshold for access to full student allowances,” Pettett said. “Providing wider access to allowances for less well off students can only help lift tertiary participation, reduce student debt and help improve the long term outcomes for families trapped in unskilled low paid jobs.

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