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Government moves to extend Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks with urgency

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway has introduced a Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks by 2020 to Parliament today, saying it is a vitally important move to support working families with newborns and young children.

"Our Government’s commitment to families is underscored by this legislation, which is the first to be introduced by the new administration, and we’re doing so with urgency,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.

“We campaigned on giving children the best start in life, and we’re making good on our pledge to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks in the first day of legislation in the 52nd Parliament.”

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill proposes the increase to be phased in over three years and two stages:

  • an increase from 18 to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018,
  • a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.

“As well as the direct financial benefits to households and reducing stress on parents, extending paid parental leave has a range of positive impacts on child development and fostering parent-infant attachment.

“It also aligns with the World Health Organisation recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding up to six-months of age, all of which improves short-term and long-term child and society outcomes.

“This is just one of the measures in the Government’s Families Package which will better support families with children and reduce child poverty.

“Other measures include the Best Start scheme and boosting the Working for Families payments, targeting low and middle income families.

“The Government believes that every Kiwi child deserves the best start in life. The previous Government said it couldn’t be done, but we’re doing this now so I’m incredibly proud to be introducing this Bill to parliament today,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

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