Supporting young families

Labour has a proud record of supporting families, and today Chris Hipkins announced the next steps in our plan – expanding paid parental leave to partners, to ensure children get the best start in life.

We all know that the early years are the most critical time in a child’s development, and it’s important that we support young families to make sure children can thrive.  

A re-elected Labour Government is committing to four weeks Paid Partner’s Leave.The new scheme will be phased in from 1 July next year, and leave can be taken either concurrently or consecutively with the primary carer. This is in addition to the current entitlement of two weeks unpaid leave and will be paid for entirely by government.

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

Our Government extended Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks, and that’s something we’re proud of. International studies have shown that having six months of paid parental leave supports bonding and attachment – this makes a massive difference in the health and wellbeing outcomes of mothers and babies and supports a child’s development.

We believe Paid Parental Leave should be expanded on, and that it’s not a pie to be sliced up in different ways. Our additional support will provide families with more freedom and flexibility by increasing the overall entitlement to parental leave.

In addition, from March next year, Labour has committed to ensuring the government will pay a matching KiwiSaver ‘employer’ contribution to Paid Parental Leave recipients, provided they continue their own KiwiSaver. We know the unpaid nature of childcare can have an impact on New Zealander’s retirement, and that this is one of the main reasons women fall behind, so we’re taking steps to address this.

It was a Labour Government that first introduced Paid Parental Leave in 1948. It was a Labour Government that extended it to 26 weeks and now, under Chris Hipkins, Labour will extend Paid Parental Leave to partners. This shows our commitment to supporting New Zealand families.

Raising a family can be expensive. Everything from housing, to food, to transport, to childcare – we know that making ends meet can be stressful. Labour believes that parents should be able to spend more time raising their family, and less time worrying about how to afford to.

That’s why we’re taking practical steps to reduce cost of living pressures and help families get ahead. Our cost of living plan includes free doctor’s prescriptions, 20 hours free ECE for two year olds, free or half price public transport for children and young people and now GST off fruit and vegetables – and there’s more to come. You can find out more about Labour's Cost of Living Plan here.

New Zealanders have a clear choice this election. Christopher Luxon and National will push reckless policies that will cut taxes for the wealthiest New Zealanders and cut support for everyone else. National will increase the cost of medicine, ECE and childcare, public transport and fruit and veges. Now is not the time to put Labour’s support for families at risk.

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