Govt bats away PPL changes

The Press - - Politics - STACEY KIRK

The Gov­ern­ment has slapped down an 11th-hour mo­tion from Na­tional to put its paid parental leave (PPL) ex­ten­sion to public con­sul­ta­tion - which would have al­lowed a pro­posal for par­ents to take leave at the same time to be con­sid­ered.

Op­po­si­tion leader Bill English at­tempted to put the mo­tion through dur­ing Par­lia­men­tary Ques­tion Time, how­ever mul­ti­ple Gov­ern­ment MPs and min­is­ters voiced their ob­jec­tion. Un­der the rules of Par­lia­ment, only one MP needs to ob­ject for a mo­tion to be re­jected.

The ex­ten­sion was passed into law un­der ur­gency last night, de­spite changes not com­ing into ef­fect un­til July 1, next year.

A for­mal amend­ment to the leg­is­la­tion, put for­ward by the Op­po­si­tion, had al­ready been voted down by the Gov­ern­ment on Tues­day night.

The pro­posal from Na­tional Party MP Amy Adams would have al­lowed par­ents to choose if they wanted to take some, or all of their 22 weeks paid parental leave to­gether.

English said it was ‘‘not too late for the Gov­ern­ment to do the right thing’’.

“The Gov­ern­ment is re­fus­ing to recog­nise that par­ents are best­placed to make their own de­ci­sions, and should be free to take leave to­gether to spend time with their new baby, should they choose. This would en­sure par­ents can be at home to­gether sup­port­ing each other and bond­ing with their ba­bies in those im­por­tant and stress­ful early months,’’ English said.

“Why should par­ents of a very sick child, or fam­i­lies where a par­ent is suf­fer­ing from post-natal de­pres­sion, not have that choice?’’

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