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Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

After years of lobbying 26 weeks of paid parental leave is now a reality

New Zealand families will now have more time to spend with their youngest members thanks to the success of the 26 for Babies paid parental leave campaign.

It has been a long road and PPTA has been involved right from the start when then-Labour MP Sue Moroney’s member’s bill to extend paid parental leave was drawn from the ballot in 2012.

PPTA president Jack Boyle said the association was proud to be involved with the campaign and thrilled with the outcome.

“We, along with many other groups and organisations have been steadfast in our support for better paid parental leave. It is vital for parents to have this time, to bond with their children and for a baby’s development.”

There was still more to be done to improve paid parental leave, including increasing the rate and availability to all parents, but the celebration is well earned, he said.

26 for babies spokesperson Rebecca Matthews described the introduction of 26 weeks paid parental leave from 1 July 2020 as “an historic day for New Zealand babies.”

“There has been overwhelming public support from across the political spectrum for this important policy and we thank all members of parliament who have supported this campaign over the years including those from the Māori Party, United Future, NZ First, Labour and the Greens.”

“Parents all over New Zealand will benefit from more precious time spent at home with new-born babies,” she said.

CTU secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges said the campaign succeeded in ensuring politicians had to take action.

“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,” she said.

“While the 26 for Babies campaign is now won there continues to be work to be done to improve paid parental leave specifically:

• 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.
• Partner’s 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.
• 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 barriers to accessing paid parental leave be removed
• 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.”

“The 26 for Babies coalition is likely to reconvene to advance the work that that is still to be done. Clearly we can’t use the name 26 for Babies anymore, but we will have a bit of a break, think of a good name and keep the mahi going,” Jack said.

“Watch this space for more information on how you can support the campaign.”

Last modified on Monday, 31 August 2020 15:01