Debate over paid parental leave

baby 28 January 2014
Young women may find it harder to get work at small businesses if paid parental leave is extended to 26 weeks, according to the New Zealand Initiative executive director Oliver Hartwich.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said yesterday in his state of the nation speech that a Labour-led Government would extend paid parental leave from 14 to 26 weeks.

Hartwich said the policy is largely “middle class welfare” which would place an “enormous burden” on smaller businesses.

“It might even lead to some businesses being more careful about taking younger women on because they might fear that eventually that [26 weeks paid parental leave] might happen.

“It wouldn’t be legal to discriminate on these grounds but it doesn’t make it any easier for small businesses. It isn’t a reason I would reject it but it is probably going in the wrong direction.”

High-profile employment lawyer Susan Hornsby-Geluk said the duration of paid parental leave was largely a matter for the government.