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Paid parental leave improvements take effect


Paid parental leave improvements take effect


New paid parental leave laws come into effect today under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Act 2004.

From today, the period of paid parental leave rises from 12 to 13 weeks for babies due, born or adopted on or after 1 December 2004. This will rise again to 14 weeks from 1 December 2005.

In addition, women who have worked for the same employer for the previous six months for at least 10 hours per week before their due date of birth will be able to access paid parental leave. Previously an employee was required to work for the same employer for at least 12 months.

“Since its introduction, the paid parental leave scheme has been an enormous success”, Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson said.

“Thousands of women have accessed paid parental leave, and the latest changes mean that a further 3,400 women per year will benefit from the scheme”.

Eligible employees will receive a maximum payment of $346.63 per week for 13 weeks. Payment and leave can be shared between eligible partners, including those in same-sex relationships. However, less than one per cent of mothers to date have transferred their paid leave to their spouses or partners.

Ruth Dyson said that work would continue on extending the scheme to the self-employed to ensure that the benefits of paid parental leave could be available to more parents.

“Our government is committed to making the workplace more attuned to women’s and families’ needs, and we will continue to develop family-friendly attitudes, laws and entitlements.”

For information about the latest changes, including an online calculator to work out individual entitlements to paid parental leave, visit www.ers.dol.govt.nz, or phone the Department of Labour, freephone 0800 800 863

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