NZ third worst among wealthy countries for mums' paid parental leave

Stuff co.nz 17 June 2019
Family First Comment: Currently, working mums, or other primary carers, can take 22 weeks of paid leave. From July 2020, that will be extended to 26 weeks. Even after the increase, Kiwi working mums will still be worse off than their peers in most OECD countries, according to the Unicef report. Fathers get one or two weeks of parental leave – but it’s unpaid.

New Zealand has been ranked third-worst among wealthy nations for the amount of paid parental leave available to working mothers.

The finding comes from a report by Unicef, which compared the minimum legal entitlements for men and women and other “family friendly policies” of 41 high and middle income countries.

In terms of mothers’ paid parental leave, only Australia and the US – where it’s at employers’ and insurers’ discretion – lagged behind New Zealand. For dads, New Zealand tied with eight other countries for last place.

Estonia had the most generous paid parental leave scheme for women, the report said. Mums could take 18 months off at their full salary.

Kiwi mums and family advocates spoken to by Stuff said they hoped the report’s findings would be “a wake up call” to the Government and businesses and lead to paid parental leave being increased.

The report used figures from 2016, when primary carers (most often women) got 18 weeks of paid parental leave in New Zealand.

Because weekly payments were capped at $538.55 before tax – about half the average weekly income – the report equated the 18 weeks to just eight weeks at the “full rate equivalent”.

Currently, working mums, or other primary carers, can take 22 weeks of paid leave. From July 2020, that will be extended to 26 weeks.

Even after the increase, Kiwi working mums will still be worse off than their peers in most OECD countries, according to the Unicef report.

Men (or partners of other genders of the primary caregiver) get one or two weeks of parental leave – but it’s unpaid.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/113520395/nz-third-worst-among-wealthy-countries-for-mums-paid-parental-leave

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