Labour promises to increase paid parental leave for partners

Chris Hipkins says Labour will increase paid parental leave for partners to help support families welcoming newborns.

The plan would introduce four weeks of paid partner's leave, which can be taken concurrently or consecutively with the primary carer's leave. The paid partner's leave is additional to the current statutory requirement of two weeks unpaid leave.

Hipkins, the Labour Party leader, said the new scheme would be phased in from July 1, 2024.

"It supports all parents to be part of their babies' youngest days, providing extra financial help when families need it most," he said.

"Our new scheme will further expand access to parental leave by ensuring that even if the primary carer is caring and isn't entitled to PPL [paid parental leave], their partner can take up to four weeks leave to be with them."

He added that while taking time off is expensive, most partners still take leave regardless.

"This policy helps support the entire family unit in those crucial early days will support a return to workforce in the longer term."

Labour MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan said the new scheme will provide families with more flexibility by increasing the overall entitlement to parental leave.

"We recognise that when paid parental leave was first introduced by Labour in 2002, transfer of paid leave to partners had a very low take up, and before 2017, only 1 percent of cases included leave being transferred," she said.

"In the last five years there's been a huge increase in partners taking advantage of parental leave. We know our existing expansions of paid parental leave have supported this trend, and we want to continue that by removing more barriers and allowing all partners the freedom and flexibility to support their family and children."

Since 2017, Hipkins said Labour has worked hard to support families during babies' early years, including:

  • introducing the Best Start Payment
  • boosts to Working for Families and the Family Tax Credit
  • extending paid parental leave
  • increasing payments for people on the maximum paid parental leave by over $170 a week
  • allowing new parents to receive a 3 percent Government contribution to their KiwiSaver while on paid parental leave.

"In uncertain economic times, we need simple, clear and smart policies which provide targeted help, practical cost of living support and make things a little easier," Hipkins said.

"Like our cost of living policy, including dropping GST from fruit and vegetables, paid partner leave will deliver directly for families. This is a Labour Government which puts families first."