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Adjustment to paid parental leave rate

30 May 2003 Media Statement

Adjustment to paid parental leave rate

The maximum paid parental leave payment will increase from $325 per week to $334.75 per week from 1 July, Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said today.

Under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act, the maximum rate is adjusted each year to reflect any increase in average weekly earnings, as determined by the Quarterly Employment Survey. The percentage movement for this year is 3%.

The new rate will apply to new applicants, and to those already receiving payments, from 1 July. Those people already receiving payments will be advised of the increase by the Inland Revenue Department through their regular payments letter.

Interested employers and employees will be able to find out more information from visiting www.ers.dol.govt.nz or calling the ERS Infoline on 0800 800 863.

Margaret Wilson said the paid parental leave scheme will have been operating for one year as of 1 July. About 3900 people are receiving payments at any given time and the scheme is running to budget.

“Paid parental leave has made a very positive contribution to family life. Financial support makes a difference to parents at a fundamental level. This Government is committed to wrestling with real issues people face when balancing their work and personal lives.”

A review of paid parental leave will be undertaken by the Department of Labour after the first year. Margaret Wilson says that, as previously indicated, eligibility is likely to emerge as a key issue.

Overall, the review will look at how well the scheme has worked to date, at proposals to extend eligibility to other groups (such as the self-employed, or those who have worked for more than one employer during the previous year) and also at the possibility of increasing the period of payment.

Margaret Wilson said there would be wide consultation with stakeholders, including Business New Zealand, the Council of Trade Unions, the National Council on the Employment of Women, the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, the Maori Women’s Welfare League, the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women, the College of Midwives and Parents Centres NZ.

ENDS

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