Kate Chapman reports at Stuff:
National is likely to come under intense pressure to support extending paid parental leave to six months.
Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the ballot and may have the numbers without National.
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has campaigned on extending paid parental leave to 12 months, and most other political parties, except ACT, are likely to support the bill. That will leave National in a tight spot if it chooses to vote against the family-friendly legislation.
The bill would increase paid parental leave by four weeks a year to 26 weeks in 2014, almost double the current 14 weeks.
It is worth mentioning that the Government can stop the bill being passed into law, even without a majority in Government. If the Minister of Finance signs a certificate saying the bill “would have more than a minor impact on the Government’s fiscal aggregates”, then under Standing Orders the Speaker will not give the bill a third reading. It can however proceed up until then.
On the merits of increasing paid parental leave, lets just say it is a debate which could be worthwhile to have when we are back in surplus, but while we are struggling with debt and deficit, it would be irresponsible to do so.