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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

Amanda Reilly

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Accounting and Commercial Law

Suzy Morrissey

School of Accounting and Commercial Law

Date Written: March 31, 2016

Abstract

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

Reilly, Amanda and Morrissey, Suzy, Why New Zealand Should Introduce Paid 'Dad and Partner Leave' (March 31, 2016). The New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations 41(3): 66-75, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2774523

Amanda Reilly (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Accounting and Commercial Law ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

Suzy Morrissey

School of Accounting and Commercial Law ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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