Release: Labour will increase paid parental leave for partners

In a further boost for young families, a Chris Hipkins-led Labour government is committing to four weeks Paid Partner’s Leave.

Labour will introduce:

  • Four weeks Paid Partner’s Leave
  • Can be taken concurrently or consecutively with Primary Carer’s Leave
  • Leave is additional to current statutory entitlement of two weeks unpaid leave

In a further boost for young families, a Chris Hipkins-led Labour government is committing to four weeks Paid Partner’s Leave.

The new scheme will be phased in from 1 July 2024 and leave can be taken either concurrently or consecutively with the primary carer. It’s in addition to the current statutory entitlement of two weeks unpaid leave and will be paid for entirely by government. 

“I’m absolutely delighted to be able to commit the Labour Government I lead after the election to expanding paid parental leave to partners,” Chris Hipkins said. 

“As a dad who took leave when my kids were born, I know that was a decision I was incredibly fortunate to make. This policy will help remove some of the financial barriers to partners taking parental leave.

“It supports all parents to be part of their babies’ youngest days, providing extra financial help when families need it most.

“Our new scheme will further expand access to parental leave by ensuring that even if the primary carer is caring and isn’t entitled to PPL, their partner can take up to four weeks leave to be with them.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do – we know that when it comes to a baby’s first few weeks, you can’t overdo support, whether that’s an extra pair of hands, sleep or cooked meals.

“This policy extends the entitlement so all partners can have the same experience.  It’s healthy for everyone in the family and is also good business - employers know that too.

“Taking time off is expensive, but most partners take leave to support their partners regardless. This policy helps support the entire family unit in those crucial early days will support a return to workforce in the longer term.”

Priyanca Radhakrishnan said Labour’s Paid Partner’s scheme will provide Kiwi families with more flexibility by increasing the overall entitlement to parental leave.

“We recognise that when Paid Parental Leave was first introduced by Labour in 2002, transfer of paid leave to partners had a very low take up, and before 2017, only one per cent of cases included leave being transferred.

“In the last five years there’s been a huge increase in partners taking advantage of parental leave.   We know our existing expansions of paid parental leave have supported this trend, and we want to continue that by removing more barriers and allowing all partners the freedom and flexibility to support their family and children,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

Chris Hipkins said since 2017, Labour had worked hard to support Kiwi families around the invaluable early years.

  • Labour introduced the Best Start Payment to help families with costs.
  • Labour’s boosts to the Working for Families, along with increases to the Family Tax Credit, mean more families are eligible for and are receiving the support they deserve.
  • When Labour came into government in 2017, NZ’s 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave was one of the lowest in the OECD.  Since then, Labour has extended this to 26 weeks.
  • Labour has increased payments for people on the maximum parental leave entitlement by more than $170 a week.
  • In this year’s Budget, paid parental leave entitlements increased from 1 July, putting an additional $51 a week into the pockets of new parents or an additional $1327 for those taking the full 26 weeks of parental leave.
  • From mid-2024, new parents will also receive a three percent government contribution to their KiwiSaver while on Paid Parental Leave, provided they continue their own KiwiSaver contributions.

“I am hugely proud of Labour-led achievements for Kiwi families,” Chris Hipkins said.

“In uncertain economic times, we need simple, clear and smart policies which provide targeted help, practical cost of living support and make things a little easier.

”Like our Cost of Living policy, including dropping GST from fruit and vegetables,  Paid Partner Leave will deliver directly for families. This is a Labour Government which puts families first.

“It was Labour that introduced PPL, Labour extended it to 26 weeks and now Labour is extending PPL to partners. This shows our commitment to families, especially when children are young.”

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