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Commission Applause For New Scheme


Commission Applause For New Scheme

The Human Rights Commission today welcomed the Government’s introduction of Paid Parental Leave.

Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said that the scheme was consistent with the spirit and purpose of international law and the Human Rights Act.

“Initiatives to promote women’s equality in the labour market are an important part of building a fair and inclusive society and help to provide more children with a decent start in life”.

The Commission also commended the Government on maintaining the Parental Tax Credit, which remains available for low-income parents, and on allowing same-sex couples to be eligible for paid leave.

“It is important not to disadvantage one group over another on the basis of employment status or sexual orientation: The Commission is pleased to see that the Government has avoided doing so in this case,” said Ms. Noonan.

However, Ms.Noonan said that the Paid Parental Leave scheme did not measure up to the international standards set out in several ILO Conventions.

“ILO Maternity Protection Convention 183 obliges countries that ratify the Convention to provide a minimum of 14 weeks paid parental leave and related Recommendation 191 encourages Member States to extend the leave period to at least 18 weeks”.

Eligibility is another concern for the Commission, as parents who are self-employed are not covered under the scheme.

“ILO Convention 183 is explicit in its expectation that all employed women, including those in atypical forms of dependent work, are covered. But New Zealand parents who are self-employed, some homecare and seasonal workers, and some workers in long-term contracts with the same employer miss out,” said Ms. Noonan.

The Commission is pleased that the Government has indicated that a review and extension of the Paid Parental Leave provisions can be expected.

For further information, or if you are interested in the Commission’s policy on paid parental leave, call Miriam Bell, Human Rights Commission Communications Officer on 025 313 239 or 09 375 8627.

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