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PPL – Both A Want And A Need

16 September 2008
PPL – Both A Want And A Need

Movement to increase the minimum entitlements available from the Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme is seen as an important election issue, not just for women, but for families, says the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ).

While all the political parties express concern about helping families, few have recognised that extending Paid Parental Leave is one very practical way of achieving that goal. Women are aware that the Labour Party is the only major party to indicate they are actively looking at strengthening PPL. While it is understood that the National Party, which could possibly lead the next government, has still to publicly announce their plans on PPL.

NCWNZ is aware that there are some Members of Parliament who do not understand the benefits of having PPL in place and who hold the viewpoint that PPL is a barrier to women of child-bearing age getting into employment.

NCWNZ disputes this and agrees and supports the research outcomes of the Families Commission into PPL last year. The Commission was able to produce a well-researched paper gathered from both national and international information which shows the positive benefits of having a broad, well-funded parental leave policy in place.

“Paid Parental Leave is not just a woman’s issue, it is a family issue. Men have just as an important role to play in the development of the family”, says NCWNZ National President, Christine Low. “Extending the scheme, currently 14 weeks, would be a huge benefit to families.”

“NCWNZ would welcome movement to six months with a commitment of extending it to a whole year within a reasonable period of time”, says Christine Low.

“NCWNZ can only see a win-win scenario for everyone when it comes to the benefits of extending Paid Parental Leave,” concluded Christine Low.


Background on Paid Parental Leave:
The Families Commission research demonstrated:
• PPL helps both the health of mother and baby,
• Helps lift the financial burden when there is a drop in family income following the birth of a child it,
• PPL enables employers to attract and retain skilled workers, it provides parents the ability to decide how to share care and work responsibilities following the birth of a child
• It allows parents to take time out of work without affecting their job prospects.
• In regards to obligations under the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
• Maternity Protection Convention 2000 183
• 1.(1)Members should endeavour to extend the period of maternity leave referred to in Article 4 of the Convention to at least 18 weeks.

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