Parent advocates applaud 26-week leave Bill

The Government will increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks from 2020 - bringing applause from parental advocates.

26 for Babies spokesperson Fleur Fitzsimons told the AM Show on Tuesday she is "absolutely delighted" with the news.

"This policy has been a long time in the making," she says.

"It's hugely popular and very necessary and we're thrilled the Government is going to be implementing it."

She's backed up by Plunket, with CEO Amanda Malu saying it's a no brainer.

"There's a much stronger parental attachment between mum and baby and family and baby as a result of extended leave," she says.

"We know if we get things right in those first thousand days that children experience much better health outcomes and better life outcomes so the best thing we can all do is support this and bring it on."

National leader Bill English now says he supports plans to increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks, telling the AM Show he hoped the new Government would allow both parents of a child to take time off work together.

"It will work, I just hope they'll keep the piece that allows the father and the mother to take paid parental leave at the same time," Mr English says.

"We proposed that during the campaign - I think that would help families as well."

Ms Fitzsimons agrees with Mr English, and wants greater gender equality for parental leave.

"We would like to see the entitlement for men go greater than it is now which is the two-weeks unpaid leave that men can access," she says.

And Ms Fitzsimons still has her eyes on the future, possibly up to a year of paid parental leave.

"We are considering what our next steps will be. We'd like to look at the amount that is paid but New Zealand does still lag behind other countries in the OECD," she says.

"So we would like the next steps to be implementing more paid parental leave as well."

Newshub.