Parental leave cooperation indicated
WELLINGTON: Workplace Relations Minister IainLees Galloway says he is willing to work with the National Party to advance paid parental leave for partners — but not at the moment.
A lunch was held in Parliament yesterday to celebrate the Government’s first Bill, currently passing through Parliament, which will extend paid parental leave to 22 weeks next year, and to 26 weeks from July 2020.
National justice spokeswoman Amy Adams is trying to amend the Paid Parental Leave Bill so that both parents can take some of the leave entitlement at the same time.
Former Labour MP Sue Moroney, who championed paid parental leave as an MP, said the next step was ‘‘getting some exclusive partner leave’’ in place, to get ‘‘everyone in the family that attachment and bonding opportunity’’.
Mr Galloway has resisted National’s amendment, saying that the current Bill is about the bonding between babies and their primary caregiver.
But he told the crowd at lunch that he supported Ms Moroney’s proposal.
‘‘I absolutely want to pick up the baton exactly as you describe, Sue . . . I have already extended the invitation to the National Party for us all to work together on what the next steps are for paid parental leave.
‘‘But today this is about completing this phase of the journey.’’
Ms Moroney told media she supported National’s amendment, and ideally wanted the Government to legislate for two weeks’ paid leave for partners. But she understood Mr Galloway’s reluctance to adopt National’s amendment.
‘‘[The current Bill] has been through select committee twice. That particular provision hasn’t been through a select committee and I understand their reasoning of wanting to get some more advice on that.’’ — NZME