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Harré Welcomes Turnaround On Paid Parental Leave

Women's Affairs Minister Laila Harré has welcomed as "rather surprising" the National Party's newfound interest in Paid Parental Leave and policies that support family friendly workplaces.

Laila Harré was responding to a report that the National Party wants businesses to make it easier for New Zealand parents to combine their work and family commitments and will be looking into the standards set by Nordic countries.

But she warns it would take a "remarkable transformation" for National to ask businesses for the level of financial support it takes to implement the kind of policies in place in Sweden and Norway.

For example, employers in these countries pay a large contribution to the funding base of their Paid Parental Leave schemes, which are paid at 80% and 100% of wages respectively.

"This turn around is totally inconsistent with National's way of operating. It just shows that public support for Paid Parental Leave and family friendly workplaces is so great that even National can't ignore it," Laila Harré said.

"A little over a year ago National had the chance to back the Alliance's Paid Parental Leave Bill, a scheme largely modelled on those operating in the very countries Mrs Shipley plans to visit.

"Instead the party chose to vote this down in favour of the Parental Tax Credit scheme, a poorly and hastily designed system that offers a pittance after the birth of a child and gives the greatest benefit to families where the mother doesn't work."

Laila Harré is currently working with Labour on a government Paid Parental Leave scheme. She recently accepted an invitation to attend a major international government, business and academic summit on Work Life in the UK next month.


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