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Paid parental leave extended to 14 weeks

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister of Labour 1 December 2005 Media Statement

Paid parental leave extended to 14 weeks

Paid parental leave has been extended to 14 weeks in a further family-friendly move by the Labour-led government, Labour Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

From today, the period of paid parental leave rises from 13 to 14 weeks for babies of eligible parents who are due, born or adopted on or after 1 December 2005.

“Research shows that most parents who take up paid parental leave take the full entitlement. This extension will give women and their partners more opportunity to bond with their new babies, establish parenting, and balance family commitments without added financial pressure,” Ruth Dyson said.

Ms Dyson said the paid parental leave scheme had been an enormous success.

“Paid parental leave has made a very positive contribution to family life. More than $215 million has been paid out to more than 52,000 people since the scheme’s introduction in 2002. In 2004/05 alone, almost 19,000 people took up the leave.”

Eligible employees will receive a maximum payment of $357.30 per week for 14 weeks. Payment and leave can be shared between eligible partners, including those in same-sex relationships. However, less than one per cent of mothers to date have transferred their paid leave to their spouses or partners.

The latest extension follows on from the December 2004 increase in entitlement from 12 to 13 weeks. Women currently receiving paid parental leave payments will continue to be entitled to 13 weeks.

Further extensions to the scheme are planned, with a bill tabled in Parliament to extend paid parental leave to the self-employed.

The Department of Labour is currently evaluating the paid parental leave scheme, including looking at the experiences of women, partners, and employers, and those ineligible for the scheme.

More information about paid parental leave can be found at www.ers.dol.govt.nz

ENDS

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