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Seasonal Workers Need Paid Parental Leave Too

19 March 2008
For immediate release

Seasonal Workers Need Paid Parental Leave Too

Rural Women New Zealand says the Government’s ongoing review of the Paid Parental Leave scheme should focus on removing barriers to eligibility for an important part of the rural workforce.

“Seasonal workers do not meet the current eligibility criteria, which requires six months’ continuous service with the same employer,” says RWNZ National President, Margaret Chapman. “Rural Women New Zealand is calling for Paid Parental Leave to be extended to include seasonal workers.”

There are already difficulties finding enough workers for the horticulture and viticulture sectors and excluding seasonal workers from accessing Paid Parental Leave exacerbates this situation.

The report ‘Parental Leave in New Zealand 2005/06’ reveals ‘well educated, higher earning women in the core labour market are the group most likely to be eligible for Paid Parental Leave.’

“Any eligibility barriers related to the socio-economic grouping or the educational status of the mother should be removed,” says Ms Chapman. “Nor should there be any differentiation in eligibility criteria between those who work full time or part-time, on contract, who are self-employed or in seasonal work.”

Rural Women New Zealand is also calling for an extension of Paid Parental Leave to achieve Ministry of Health guidelines that would enable six months’ continuous breastfeeding, up from the current fourteen weeks.

“We welcome the Government’s review of the Paid Parental Leave scheme and believe our recommendations will remove some of the anomalies that add to the difficulties for rural women in qualifying for Paid Parental Leave and in participating in the workforce.”


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