08 March 2004
Paid Parental Leave Gains Mark International Women’s Day
Extensions to paid parental leave mean more women workers will be able to afford to take time off to look after a new baby, Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont said today.
Today is International Women’s Day and the Government has announced that the eligibility and duration of paid parental leave would be extended over the next two years.
“The Government has responded to calls from unions and women’s groups for paid parental leave to be extended to 14 weeks,” Carol Beaumont said. “When the move is fully implemented New Zealand will comply with the International Labour Organisation’s maternity leave convention.”
The changes also partly addressed union concerns about eligibility by allowing women to take leave if they have been in a job for six months, instead of having to wait a year, she said.
“However the scheme still unfairly excludes women in part-time jobs that are for less than 10 hours a week, and seasonal, short-term or casual wokers who don’t work continuously for six months before the birth,” Carol Beaumont said. “Unions want the eligibility criteria to be widened to cover the growing number of women in these types of jobs.”
The CTU would also continue to push for an increase in the level of payment, because, at its current level, the vast majority of workers would face a drop in income when they went on parental leave, she said.