Increase to paid parental leave a start but government must plan to do more

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Today’s announcement of an extra four weeks paid parental leave in stages is a good development for New Zealand families, but must be part of a government plan to increase the leave even further over time, says 26 for Babies.

“Government clearly needed to take action to raise New Zealand from near the bottom of the OECD for paid leave with new babies,” said 26 for Babies spokesperson Rebecca Matthews.

“Public support for increasing parental leave was overwhelming, and Labour MP Sue Moroney’s bill demonstrates that most political parties agree. The Government had no choice but to act.”

“This extra month, while modest, will be welcomed by new families but needs to be part of a longer term plan to give babies more time at home with mum or dad. Ministry of Health advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of baby’s life, and this must be backed up with longer paid parental leave.”

“Sue Moroney’s bill to extend paid parental leave is still before Parliament and provides a good opportunity for National and Labour to work together to deliver six months paid parental leave over time.”

“It’s good that there is widened eligibility and an increase in the tax credit for parents who don’t qualify for paid parental leave.”

“Eighteen weeks paid parental leave will be a popular move, but twenty six weeks would be even more popular,” Rebecca Matthews said.

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