Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Government Extends Paid Parental Leave Scheme

Government Extends Paid Parental Leave Scheme

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Women's Affairs Minister Ruth Dyson announced today that the eligibility and duration of paid parental leave is to be extended.

The leave period will be extended from 12 to14 weeks, phased in over two years. Parents will also be able to take paid parental leave if they have been in the same job for at least six months, rather than a year as at present.

Helen Clark and Ruth Dyson said an evaluation of the paid parental leave scheme shows it has been a resounding success. (The evaluation report can be seen at http://www.ers.dol.govt.nz/parentalleave/evaluation.html)

"The Department of Labour's evaluation shows both employees and employers have adjusted well to the entitlement, with few administrative or employment issues arising.

"The ability to take 12 weeks paid leave, and return to the workplace has increased employees' well-being and feeling of being appreciated, while retaining competent staff has been a benefit to employers.

"Two-thirds of all recipient parents stated that there were no drawbacks of the scheme for them. Of the third that did cite drawbacks, the most frequently mentioned was that the length of paid leave was not enough.

"Although business groups had voiced some concerns prior to the scheme's introduction, a third of employers surveyed last year cited a positive or very positive impact on their businesses, half said it had no real impact, and only nine per cent believed the overall impact of paid parental leave had been less favourable.

"From the employers' perspective, the most frequently cited benefits of the scheme were: that staff were happier and more satisfied, that they were more likely to retain experienced staff, and that the scheme stopped mothers returning to work too early or before they were ready."

Helen Clark and Ruth Dyson said that New Zealand has long been at the forefront of many initiatives to improve family and women's rights.

"It is satisfying that in the area of paid parental leave, where New Zealand has lagged behind the rest of the world, we have not only made progress, but also that progress has been largely accepted by New Zealand employers and employees. "New Zealand businesses have to compete internationally for skilled employees, so it is important that New Zealand employees' quality of life matches that of other developed countries.

"Extending the paid parental leave scheme will be positive for families, for businesses, and for the country," Helen Clark and Ruth Dyson said.

Eligible parents will get 13 weeks of paid parental leave from 1 December 2004, and 14 weeks from 1 December 2005. The two-phase introduction will bring New Zealand into line with International Labour Organisation standards.

Parents who have been in a job for at least six months will now also qualify for paid parental leave. Their job must be held open for the 13 weeks (increasing to 14 in 2005) while they take their paid parental leave.

Further work will be carried out this year on the feasibility of extending paid parental leave to self-employed.

It is estimated that around 26,000 employed women have babies each year. Latest figures now confirm that 19,000 parents accessed paid parental leave in its first year. A further 3,400 women are expected to benefit from the extensions to the scheme.

The combined cost of the new proposals for a full year is $17.3 million. This adds to the current annual expenditure for the scheme of $51 million.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news