In general, parents currently have the right to request one continuous period of paid parental leave for up to a maximum of 14 weeks. Sue Moroney MP, Labour, proposes to increase paid parental leave from 14 weeks to 26 weeks. Part of the proposal is to stage the increased leave over a period of three years so that four weeks of leave would be added cumulatively in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Ms Moroney’s private member’s bill passed its first reading on 25 July 2012. Supporters of the bill believe that increased paid parental leave would support the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Other cited advantages include allowing parents the ability to care for newborns for an extended period and, it is argued that more jobs would be created as extra workers would be needed to cover those on leave. On the other hand, there is a concern that increased paid parental leave would have serious fiscal implications. If you wish to make a submission to Parliament please do so before Friday, 5 October 2012. Information on making a submission can be found on “New Zealand Parliament’s website”:http://bit.ly/Nli5o6
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