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Next steps to modernise parental leave

Hon Simon Bridges
Minister of Labour

9 July 2014

Next steps to modernise parental leave

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today released a discussion document seeking feedback on the Government’s proposals to enhance and modernise parental leave.

“One of the Government’s key priorities is to support families and children. That’s why, as part of Budget 2014, the Government announced an overhaul of parental leave to make it available to more people, for a longer period and with more flexibility,” Mr Bridges says.

“Since parental leave was first introduced, family structures have become more diverse and less-regular working arrangements have become more common.

“The proposals outlined in the discussion document Modernising parental leave: Changes to allow greater access and increased flexibility will ensure New Zealand’s parental leave framework better reflects New Zealanders’ wide range of family and work arrangements,” Mr Bridges says.

Key proposals in the discussion document are:
• Extending the eligibility of paid parental leave to include primary carers other than parents
• Extending payments to people in less-regular work or who recently changed jobs
• Enabling employees to take unpaid parental leave part time and flexibly

“Introducing more flexibility into parental leave legislation will support primary carers who wish to remain active in the workforce without losing their entitlements,” Mr Bridges says.

“These proposals, along with the extension to paid parental leave from 14 to 18 weeks, will help to improve outcomes for families and children while being fiscally responsible and recognising current economic conditions.

“We are now consulting with employers, employees and other stakeholders on the design of these changes and invite submissions on the proposals.”

Modernising parental leave: Changes to allow greater access and increased flexibility can be viewed here www.dol.govt.nz/consultation/parental-leave

Submissions close on 25 August 2014.

ENDS

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