Why New Zealand Should Introduce Paid 'Dad and Partner Leave'
The New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations 41(3): 66-75, 2016
10 Pages Posted: 5 May 2016 Last revised: 17 May 2017
Date Written: March 31, 2016
Paid parental leave was introduced in New Zealand as a twelve-week period in 2002, expanded over a number of years to 16 weeks and from 1 April 2016 became available for 18 weeks. Debate in New Zealand has focused on the desirability of further extending the period of leave available and on widening eligibility. This paper, however, makes the case that the introduction of an independent entitlement to a separate period of paid parental leave for fathers/partners should be a priority. It argues that such a measure would further equality between men and women and would bring New Zealand law into line with the policy in other developed economies and with ILO recommendations. The paper also considers the question of the design of such an entitlement. It is concluded that partner leave should be well paid, ring fenced for “Dads and Partners” (as the equivalent Australian provision is) and at least two weeks long. The options that it could potentially be funded by employers rather than the state, and could be made compulsory, are also discussed.
Keywords: Fathers, Partner Leave, Equality, New Zealand, ILO Recomendations
JEL Classification: K31, J38, J70, J78, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation