Paid parental leave to be extended to 26 weeks

Parents can look forward to 26 weeks paid parental leave by July 2020 as part of the Labour-led government’s promise to better support working families with new-born and young children, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“Cabinet today decided to increase the duration of parental leave entitlements to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, extending further to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020. We will be introducing legislation to Parliament to give effect to this week.

“This is a key part of our Families Package and one all three parties of government have been proud to support because it’s the right thing to do.

“We want children to have the best start in life. Evidence shows having a parent at home as long as possible to care for a child provides a huge benefit for that child’s development.

“Some 28,000 parents currently enjoy 18 weeks of paid parental leave, but that’s one of the lowest in the OECD. We know that many primary care givers want to spend longer with their babies. We can do better and we will.

“The increased support for working families has a net cost of $325 million over the four year forecast period, which is what we budgeted for and fits within our fiscal plan.

“This is an investment in families that will benefit children and all of society.

“Today, we are proudly delivering on another key pledge in our 100 Day Plan. We promised we would be a government of action and that means we’re moving quickly to make changes so we can improve the well-being of New Zealanders.”