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Michael Woodhouse, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister. Michael Woodhouse, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister.[/caption] Additional support for families through an extension to Paid Parental Leave and an increase to the minimum wage comes into effect today, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse says. Paid Parental Leave will extend from 14 to 16 weeks today and by another two weeks next year, while further improvements to the scheme are also being progressed. The adult minimum wage will increase from $14.25 to $14.75 an hour from today and the starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase by 40 cents to $11.80 an hour. “These initiatives are good news for families and deliver on the Government’s commitment to helping families, but there’s more to come,” Mr Woodhouse says. “The Government has also confirmed a package of measures to further improve access to Paid Parental Leave. “These measures include extending eligibility to more workers and increasing the flexibility of the scheme to better reflect the diversity of modern work and family arrangements and make it easier for parents to stay connected to the workforce. “The Government is committed to helping children get a good start in life and that New Zealand’s parental leave framework better supports Kiwi families.” The Paid Parental Leave changes will be reflected in a Bill to be introduced around the middle of the year. They include:

  • Extending parental leave payments to non-standard workers (such as casual, seasonal, and employees with more than one employer) and those who have recently changed jobs
  • Extending entitlements to ‘primary carers’ other than biological or formal adoptive parents such as permanent guardians, Home for Life carers, whāngai parents, and grandparents.
  • Enabling employees to take the leave more flexibly, by mutual agreement with the employer
To complement the changes to the Paid Parental Leave, the Parental Tax Credit has also increased from $150 a week to $220 from 1 April 2015 and the payment period was extended from eight weeks to 10 weeks. – –  ]]>