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Parental leave payments to increase on July 1

30 June 2008

Parental leave payments to increase on July 1

Parents are set to get more support when parental leave payments go up tomorrow, Labour Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

The maximum parental leave payment will increase from $391.28 per week to $407.36 per week from 1 July. The minimum parental leave payment for self-employed people also increases from $112.50 per week to $120.00 per week. Rates are before tax.

"Parents already receiving payments will automatically receive a higher payment from July 1 onwards," Trevor Mallard said.

"For the year ended 31 March 2008, over 22,400 New Zealand parents received parental leave payments. Since the scheme was introduced in 2002, more than 130,000 parents have received paid parental leave, including those who have had more than one child."

Under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, the maximum rate is adjusted each year to reflect any increase in average weekly earnings, as determined by the Statistics New Zealand Quarterly Employment Survey. The minimum rate is adjusted in line with changes to the minimum wage.

"The Labour-led government realises that paid parental leave assists new parents at a critical time. This rate increase will help support new parents’ choices regarding their families and paid work. It is about continuing positive support for families," Trevor Mallard said.

"This government cares about families which is why we have also increased annual leave to four weeks, raised the minimum wage to $12 an hour, and introduced legislation to require employers to provide appropriate facilities and breaks for employees to breastfeed where reasonable and practicable.

"Workers with caring responsibilities will also have a specific right to ask their employers for flexible working arrangements from July 1."

Eligible parents, including the self-employed, are entitled to up to 14 weeks’ paid parental leave, at a rate calculated on the basis of their average weekly earnings.


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