The National Party will support Labour's legislation to provide 26-weeks of Paid Parental Leave (PPL), but wants it tweaked so both parents can take leave at the same time.
Labour's response to the demand has been confused. While Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the policy could be considered, Acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis appeared to rule it out.
Labour's policy allows parents to split 26 weeks of PPL between them but not take it at the same time.
Amy Adams, National's spokesperson for workplace relations, says that's inflexible and "going back to the nanny state of telling families how to arrange their lives".
"The proposal we're talking about would simply allow families to choose whether to take some or all of the leave together," she said on Tuesday morning.
Ms Adams said the option of taking PPL together would be particularly helpful for parents of twins, premature babies and babies with older siblings. She said it wouldn't add any additional cost.
National campaigned on the policy to increase PPL to 22 weeks and to allow parents to take some of those 22 weeks off at the same time.
Labour's PPL bill has already been through select committee and now has support from enough of the House to pass into law. National put a stop to it with a financial veto last year but now supports the bill.
Labour will now pass it into law under urgency, justifying the move by saying it's already been through the select committee process so doesn't need to go through that again.
But Ms Adams says that means Labour's been "caught out".
Speaking on Tuesday morning, acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis appeared to cold-shoulder National's idea, saying Labour is happy with the bill as is.
"We're really excited by the fact that by 2020, parents will be able to take 26 weeks' paid parental leave."
"We're happy with the bill that we've put forward."
But his colleague, Willow-Jean Prime said she knows how difficult being a new mother can be and would be talking to Minister for Workplace Relations Iain Lees-Galloway about adopting National's amendment.
"That is one of the most challenging times - as soon as Mum has given birth - and I know in our own situation, that was a time I really appreciated having my husband there. Being a school teacher he only had about a week and that was difficult."
While Mr Davis appeared to rule out adopting National's policy of shared PPL, Mr Lees-Galloway is leaving the option open.
But he said the way it's being explained by National at the moment goes against the spirit of the bill because it would reduce the overall amount of time parents could spend with babies.