Labour ‘Dog­matic’ Over Paid Parental Leave - Na­tional

Fiji Sun - - Aust/Nz News -

The Na­tional Party is ac­cus­ing Labour of be­ing dog­matic in its re­fusal to al­low both par­ents of a child the op­tion to take paid parental leave at the same time.

The Labour-led gov­ern­ment is cur­rently push­ing through a bill un­der ur­gency to ex­tend leave from 18 weeks to 22 in July next year, then up to 26 in 2020. Work­place Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Iain LeesGal­loway yes­ter­day said Labour would block a Na­tional Party amend­ment sug­gest­ing both par­ents be al­lowed to take leave to­gether.

Na­tional MP Amy Adams said she could not see any rea­son why.

“It doesn’t ex­tend the over­all cost. It doesn’t ex­tend the over­all time. It doesn’t com­pel par­ents to take up that op­tion.

“[It] seems to me to be a dog­matic re­fusal to ac­cept they didn’t get it 100 per­cent right.”

Mr Lees-Gal­loway said the amend­ment would shorten the pe­riod of time the pri­mary care­giver would have paid leave to spend with their child.

The Na­tional Party blocked at­tempts to ex­tend paid parental leave while in power, say­ing it was un­af­ford­able, but then changed its tune in the lead up to the elec­tion.

The ar­chi­tect of some changes to the wel­fare sys­tem, Paula Bennett, said there are al­ready ex­emp­tions in place for women who might be put at risk.

She said those women were in a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion to oth­ers who sim­ply opted not to name the fa­ther.

“These are women who are choos­ing not to name the fa­ther, that means he doesn’t have fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions to the state, to ac­tu­ally be pay­ing child sup­port, so it’s ac­tu­ally quite a big thing to be dropping that.”

Photo: 123RF

The Na­tional Party is ac­cus­ing Labour of be­ing dog­matic in its re­fusal to al­low both par­ents of a child the op­tion to take paid parental leave at the same time.

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