Dad Parental Leave Should Be Separate, Not Shared

Media Release 27 November 2017
Family First NZ says that mothers should receive their full entitlement to paid parental leave, and dads should be given a separate entitlement – not shared between the parents. Family First made the first call on paid fathers leave in their 2015 submission at the Select Committee process when the issue was previously considered.

“By reducing or sharing the entitlement of paid parental leave between parents, it means that mothers lose valuable bonding time with their baby, recovery time from giving birth, and the policy is inconsistent with the Ministry of Health guidelines for breastfeeding. The period immediately following the birth of a child is demanding and difficult for mums – especially with sleep deprivation, recovering from childbirth, and coping with the existing demands of siblings,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“However, it is completely appropriately, and in fact desirable, that the father is involved in this crucial period of adjustment and to support the mother. This will promote hands-on parenting by fathers, which is a good thing. Family First has costed the policy at approximately $50-$60m per year.”

A nationwide poll of New Zealanders in 2013 commissioned by Family First NZ found 68% support for paid paternal leave of two weeks for fathers, with 28% opposing. There was slightly stronger support from women.

“Paid parental leave values both mothers and fathers. It recognises the value that children place on having the nurturing of both parents in the home, especially at this very young age.”

According to the latest OECD report, on average, OECD countries offer nine weeks of paid father-specific leave.

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