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Paid parental leave payments increase

1 July 2005

Paid parental leave payments increase

Maximum paid parental leave payments will increase from tomorrow, 1 July 2005, Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

Eighty seven per cent of people on paid parental leave currently receive the maximum rate, which will increase from $346.63 to $357.30 a week. The new rate will apply both to new applicants and those already receiving parental leave payments. People already receiving payments will be advised of the increase by the Inland Revenue Department through their regular payments letter.

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.

Current information shows that: the majority of employees are taking the full 13 weeks’ paid leave entitlement; about 17,000 people accessed the scheme last year; about 4,400 people are receiving parental leave payments at any one time.

“More than 45,000 people have accessed the scheme since it began,” Ruth Dyson said. “Our Labour-Progressive government is committed to making a positive contribution to family life by continuing to support new parents in this way. As well as increasing the amount of money that people receive, we extended the duration of paid parental leave from 12 to 13 weeks last year, and will increase it again to 14 weeks in December 2005.”

The government plans to introduce legislation to Parliament this year to extend the paid parental leave scheme to the self-employed from 1 July 2006, Ms Dyson said.

The Department of Labour will also evaluate the parental leave scheme over the next year, including looking at the experiences of women, those ineligible for parental leave, their partners and employers.

More information about paid parental leave can be found at www.ers.dol.govt.nz or call the Department of Labour’s Infoline on 0800 800 863 / 0800 20 90 20.

ENDS

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