UnitedFuture supports extending our paid parental leave scheme to a full year of paid parental leave for parents.  We believe that a crucial element of a fair and responsive economy is one that provides the best opportunities for our future generations.  Given the value of having parents being able to choose how they spend time with their newborns we believe it is the role of Government to facilitate as much connection between parents and newborn as possible within the first year.

What is the current scheme? 

Currently, New Zealand provides 18 weeks of paid parental leave.  The scheme works as a payment from the Government to parents in order to facilitate parents to be able to spend more time with their newborn children.

What has UnitedFuture’s stance been on Paid Parental Leave? 

We ensured that the paid parental leave scheme would be extended under the 5th Labour Government and have happily supported extensions to the scheme under the 5th National Government.   UnitedFuture voted in favour of recent member’s Bills that would extend paid parental leave to twenty-six weeks, but our ultimate goal is to make it workable for parents to be able to spend one years worth of time with the child, whether that be six months for each parent, one year for one parent, or split any way the parents of a newborn want.

Why is Paid Parental Leave Important? 

The first year of a child’s life is the most important to the development of a child.  During that first year, newborns learn in leaps and bounds and parents are a huge part of that. The first year is crucial to a child’s development and being able to have more time bonding with their parents is vitally important for developing a child’s communication, language and health  It is for that reason that virtually every country in the world has a paid parental leave scheme.

Generous paid leave schemes in countries such as Sweeden, the United Kingdom, Georgia, Romania, Canada and Denmark have proven to be both workable and effective and increasing the capabilities of families and opportunities for children.

UnitedFuture’s policy would build on New Zealand’s current entitlement’s that allow PPL to be shared between parents and put New Zealand more in line with countries like the United Kingdom and Sweden

You can see recent statements from our leader, Peter Dunne, on paid leave: