Paid parental leave in New Zealand is set to increase to 26 weeks by 2020. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday that the increase will be incremental, changing first to 22 weeks as of July 1st 2018. The increase in paid parental leave from NZ's current 18 weeks is great news for kiwi families, allowing more time for exclusive breastfeeding and bonding.
Whilst an increase is very beneficial, it is our hope that government will look at also take a broader look at what other financial impacts expectant parents have. Currently a pregnant woman is able to take 10 days of 'special leave' from her work during her pregnancy, to attend antenatal appointments, education etc. This leave is unpaid, and I believe is not available for her partner. Her partner however can apply for 1 or 2 weeks leave around the time of the birth (called 'partner's leave'), but again, this is unpaid.
It is The Birthing Room's hope that in the future, not only are parent's wages continued whilst they are on parental leave, but that expectant mothers and fathers are also given paid leave to attend antenatal education and midwife appointments together, as well as paid time off for fathers around the time their baby arrives. Surely this would have a significant benefit to families.