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Kiwi Coop Shows up Governments 'Baby Bribe'

Laila Harre MP Mon Aug 30 1999

Laila Harre
MP Kiwi Co-Operative Dairy's decision to adopt twelve weeks paid parental leave is great news for working parents, and just goes to show how behind the times Mrs Shipley's government is when it comes to family friendly work places,' said Alliance spokesperson for workplace relations, Laila Harre.

Laila Harre's private members bill, calling for twelve weeks paid parental leave, will be reported back to parliament this Wednesday, 1st September.

Kiwi Cooperative Dairies announced recently that it had established a paid parental leave policy '...to ensure Kiwi supports the need to establish a balance between work and non-work life for our employees, as well as supporting their careers.'

The new company policy provides for twelve weeks paid parental leave at 80% of earnings at the time of leave.

The Alliance bill provides for twelve weeks paid parental leave at 80% of the average male wage.

'This Wednesday will be the last chance before the election to see paid parental leave firmly established in our working culture. I call on all MPs to heed the call from companies like Kiwi,' said Laila Harre.

'The reason we need legislation is that we shouldn't have to rely on the good will and common sense of companies like Kiwi to provide for paid leave.

'Legislation would guarantee that the advantages of paid leave were spread evenly between all employees and employers.

'At the moment it is almost impossible for small businesses to pay their staff when having a baby. The up-front costs are just too great. Unfortunately only the bigger companies like Kiwi can afford to do this.

'My Bill would take a small levy from all employers - on average only $1.50 per week per employer. That's a tiny fee that a small business can afford. Only then will all employers be able to take advantage of the cost saving benefits of retaining staff after they have had a baby.

'The government's so-called 'baby-bribe' introduced in the recent budget is so far off from delivering real benefits to either employees or employers, it's a joke.

' In reality it only delivers a small subsidy to would-be mothers who don't work. It does nothing to enhance workplace conditions or the productivity of New Zealand businesses.

'Kiwi Coop is to be congratulated for its family friendly approach to paid parental leave, which all the research shows will benefit its productivity in the long term,' said Laila Harre.


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