INDEPENDENT NEWS

Paid Parental Leave Off Target - National

Published: Thu 13 Dec 2001 03:55 PM
The focus of paid parental leave has swung too much towards employment rights rather than a scheme that assists and supports all working families, says National's Women's Affairs spokesperson, Anne Tolley.
"The Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Paid Parental Leave) Amendment Bill ignores the family-focus of National's Parental Tax Credit scheme and is instead becoming wrapped up in individual employment rights.
"The Government should bow to good sense and use the $40 million put aside for its paid parental leave scheme to increase the Parental Tax Credit.
"The proposed bill is far too selective. It leaves significant numbers of parents ineligible for paid parental leave, including mothers at home not working, the self-employed and women who have changed their job in the year leading up to the birth of their baby.
"The Parental Tax Credit, on the other hand, covers all working families. In doing so, it recognises the financial, physical and emotional stress that the whole family feels with the birth of a child.
"Would-be parents will have little confidence in a scheme which may not even make it by its proposed start date of 1 July next year.
"A report from Inland Revenue has revealed that there are 'concerns with any potential change to the nature of the scheme that could occur as a result of the Select Committee process. Even minor changes could have a dramatic impact on Inland Revenue's ability to deliver on time.'
"This is hardly reassuring for would-be mothers who have listened to empty promises on paid parental leave ever since this Government was elected," said Anne Tolley.
Ends

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