Paid Parental leave increases – but more work needed – CTU

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MIL OSI – Source: Council Of Trade Unions – Paid Parental leave increases – but more work needed

Workers are pleased that, from today, paid parental leave increases from 14 to 16 weeks, but unfortunately New Zealand is still well behind the support that other countries offer to new parents, the Council of Trade Unions said.

”The OECD average is 22 weeks paid parental leave, and the amount paid to workers overseas is generally higher. In New Zealand the maximum weekly paid parental leave payment is currently $504.10 before tax, which is just 85% of the minimum wage,” said Sam Huggard, CTU Secretary.

“Union members will continue campaigning for better paid parental leave – through nationwide campaigns but also through influencing workplace policy and in collective agreement negotiations.”

“Paid parental leave is a big issue for families and especially for women union members who constitute 58% of union membership. More than a third of workers who are covered by a collective employment agreement have parental leave provisions that are above the legal minimum.  These union members and their unions lead the way in good paid parental leave provisions.”

“This is evidence of the power of workers coming together to negotiate their terms and conditions together, but we need a much more supportive state provision for all workers including those who currently don’t have access to a union,” Huggard said.

“2006 was when the Government last researched New Zealanders use of paid parental leave. That was 10 years ago now and we believe that it’s time to update the research. In 2006 the evidence was that new parents were returning early to work because of financial pressures. That situation is likely to have worsened.”

“Our paid parental leave provisions still remain low by international standards and though there is a shift in the right direction, it is nowhere near as good as it needs to be.” Huggard said.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues.
Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia’s FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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