Paid Parental Leave to extend to 22 weeks in 2018

PPL will be extended to a full 26 weeks by 2020.
PPL will be extended to a full 26 weeks by 2020. Photo credit: Getty

The Government has passed legislation to extend Paid Parental Leave (PPL) to 22 weeks on July 1, 2018.

It will be extended to a full 26 weeks by July 1, 2020.

The Bill passed its third reading in the House on Thursday afternoon and is the first law passed by the new Government. 

"Extending the duration of payments is vital for supporting working families with newborns and young children, and for New Zealand to catch up with the best international practice," said Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

New Zealand’s current paid parental leave entitlement of 18 weeks is one of the lowest in the OECD, with the average number of weeks of paid leave to mothers among OECD countries being 48 weeks."

National supported the Bill, which was passed under urgency, but called for it to allow both parents to take PPL at the same time.

Mr Lees-Galloway said that the Government would introduce legislation in 2018 to allow parents to split the leave.

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Newshub she liked National's proposed amendment, but there would be issues to work through, so it couldn't be put through under urgency along with the rest of the Bill.

"There is a really good chance that we're going to progress this, but I've just got to do my job and do it properly," she said.

"If we just put it through [under] urgency and suddenly a business says to me, 'Well, actually, now you're making me cover for two employees and that's going to be tough'."