Ensuring that babies have time at home with their primary caregivers has always been the goal of the campaign to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks. On July 1st 26 weeks of paid parental leave starts.
"This campaign has been successful because of the amazing work, and compelling arguments, of organisations, including unions, who worked together through the ’26 for Babies’ coalition. The campaign succeeded in ensuring that politicians had to take action," CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges said.
"While the ’26 for Babies’ campaign is now won there continues to be work to be done to improve paid parental leave specifically :
1. Level of payment - from 1 July the maximum weekly payment is $606.46, before tax. These rates are low by international standards and need to increase.
2. Partners leave - the introduction of a month paid leave for partners. Currently partners either need to use annual leave or take unpaid time off when a baby is born.
3. Take-up of paid parental leave - We know based on the birth rates and the numbers of people taking paid parental leave that a significant number of New Zealanders are not taking the parental leave that they are entitled to. More work needs to be done to ensure working people are aware of their entitlements and how to access paid parental leave and that the barriers accessing to paid parental leave removed
4. A review of our paid parental leave scheme and Act - there hasn’t been a review for 15 years. We need to ensure that our parental leave scheme and Act is current and meets the needs of babies, pregnant women, parents, families living in 2020 and beyond."
"26 weeks paid parental leave is a win for working women," Ansell-Bridges said