National's shared parental leave idea blocked again

  • 16/11/2017

National has failed, for the second time, to change Government legislation so that both parents of a new baby can take paid parental leave (PPL) at the same time.

The Bill extends paid parental leave from the current 18 weeks to 22 weeks from July 1 next year and to 26 weeks from July 1, 2020.

Either parent can take the leave, but not at the same time.

The Opposition supports the extension but has been arguing for two days that mothers and fathers should be able to look after their babies together if they want to.

On Tuesday National put up an amendment to the Bill and it was defeated 61-57.

On Wednesday night it tried to have the Bill discharged and sent back to a select committee so the change could be made. That move was defeated 61-56.

The minister in charge of the Bill, Iain Lees-Galloway, says National's change would mean parents could take 13 weeks leave together, using up half their PPL.

He argues that would run counter to the Bill's intention which is to give babies time to bond.

Mr Lees-Galloway hasn't entirely rejected the idea, and says it could work if it was restricted to the first few weeks of a baby's life. He's offered to work on that with National but won't hold up the Bill.

Ex-Labour MP Sue Moroney, who drafted Labour's legislation, liked the idea of having leave for partners - but it would have to be on top of the 26 weeks.

NZN / Newshub.