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Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill

Members Bill in the name of Sue Moroney (Labour) drawn from the ballot on July 23. The purpose of this bill is to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks. This bill adds provisions around work contact hours, where working parents are entitled to the flexibility of returning to work for a certain amount of time during the parental leave period without losing their entitlement to paid parental leave. Received first reading on September 16 opposed just by National and ACT and sent to the Government Administration Committee for consideration. A report back is due by March 16. Its continued progress is reliant on the Maori Party and Peter Dunne still supporting the bill. The Government has indicated it will use its veto powers if it does survive to third reading. Some of the of the extensions of coverage proposed in this bill have been incorporated into the Government’s Employment Standards Legislation Bill. Report back deadline pushed back to April 28, 2016. The evenly divided Government Administration Committee failed to agree on whether the Bill should be passed when it did report back on April 28. However, the committee said if the House decided to progress the bill, it recommended a number of changes. These included changing the implementation date to April 2017. It also removed the provision for work contact hours as the Govt has already made these changes. As introduced, the bill would extend the period of paid parental leave from 16 to 26 weeks. However, since its introduction paid parental leave has increased to 18 weeks. On May 25, the bill received its second reading by 61 to 60 with National and ACT opposed. Finance Minister Bill English restated his intention to use his financial veto to stop the bill passing into law. MPs completed the committee stage on June 8 with the Govt slowing progress as part of a general tactic to negate Member’s bills. As expected Finance Minister Bill English vetoed the bill due to its fiscal impact. Third reading debate held on June 29, but the veto prevented a vote being taken and the Bill will not be enacted.Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill