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New Zealand trailing rest of world in parental leave

11:00 AEST Tue Jul 20 2010
NZ trailing rest of world in parental leave
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By MSN NZ Money staff

When it comes to parental leave, New Zealand is trailing the rest of the world, placing 18th out of 21 countries, according to a new report.

Germany, Sweden, and Norway came out tops in terms of the length of paid leave offered — Germany and Sweden both offer 47 weeks while Norway provides 44 weeks, NZPA reports.

New Zealand offers 14 weeks.

During that period, new parents who are paid employees receive their normal weekly pay up to a maximum of $441.62 before tax.

The leave can be transferred to a spouse or partner.

But we beat our trans-Tasman friends and Uncle Sam, with Australia and the US offering no paid parental leave.

Length of leave offered isn't the only factor considered when looking at parental leave provisions.

Researchers also looked at the amount paid and the portion of leave available to fathers.

When it comes to gender equality Sweden, Finland, Greece and Norway top the table, followed closely by other European countries.

Meanwhile Australia offers a "baby bonus" of up to A$5294 ($6520) tax-free per child, which is paid in 13 fortnightly instalments.

Its government is in the process of formulating a paid parental leave scheme.

The report was compiled by US organisation Center for Economic and Policy Research.

User comments
To those that think employers shouldn't pay for maternity leave - if you can't afford them then don't have them - then by the same argument why should an employer pay an employee for any sick days or holiday pay? Are you willing to not have paid holidays or sick days?
Sorry error in my last comment. Rather than comparing the weekly amounts, I should have compared the total... The NZ deal is worth $6200, the Aussie deal $6500 (around $300 more) and gives the parent the choice whether to work or not. So the Aussie deal would give New Zealanders more for each baby as well as the choice to take unpaid leave, annual leave or whatever. Sure the Aussie deal is spread out over more weeks but at least everyone has a chance to get the baby bonus and not just some.
I'd prefer the Aussie deal - $6500 over 13 weeks means you'd get about $500 a week - which is better than the $441 one they offer in NZ.. I have had three children and no maternity leave as I have had to work through with each child beside me. This has been a challenge and immensely frustrating when others are claiming money that I can't. At least with the Aussie system everyone gets the same deal.
Why should there be any paid parental leave.If couples or single women for that matter decide to have children why should others have to pay.If you cant afford them dont have them
What most annoys me about NZ's parental leave policy is that it only applies if a woman works 10 hours a week or more. Nevermind that the job may pay $50 per hour. So when the time came for me to leave work to have my baby I was eligible for absolutely no parental leave at all leaving me in a serious financial hole!! ALL income earners should be eligible for this!!
NZ in 18th position "trailing rest of world". Well, there are about 200 countries so clearly we are near the top of the list, not last. The headline is an eye-catching lie. Semantics aside, I fail to see any justification for why an employer should be forced to pay for an employee who wants time off to have a baby. Having a baby is the choice of the employee and it is their responsibility to provide for it. If an employer wants to pay the employee, perhaps to encourage them to return to their job, then well and good, but to force this payment is unjust. I say limit employees to 1 year off unpaid maternity or paternity leave. After that they lose their right to return to their job.
actually in vancouver, canada they get 52 weeks paid - why is this not shown in the above? I agree with mich, we should be allowed at least 6 months
Why are most NZ women so selfish that they prevent the fathers from tending to the baby. Are they perhaps insecure in there own maternal ability or do they just want a vacation. Equality amoungst the sex's go's both ways. For a happy healthy society we must gaurd against extremist like feminist and the like. It is time for another revolution. Give farthers a compulsory two weeks. Reduce the female leave by two weeks. Then give the fathers the option to gift the two weeks back to the mother. This assures the human rights aspect of the perternal father and you would probably find that men will reflect more sincerely than women in the statistics.
What a shame! I feel ashamed of being an Kiwi. When I have a baby, my manger better give me 50 days paid leave.
I think what this study shows is something the government need to seriously look at as 14 weeks is not enough and we should be looking at atleast 6months leave as that is in the best interest of the child mother and father, with 6months paid leave it gives the parent the option to come back sooner then that if they want and to.