Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill

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Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill

Government Bill

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Explanatory note

General policy statement

This Bill is the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill and will increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks in 2 stages. Entitlements to parental leave payments and primary carer leave will increase to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, with a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.

These measures are part of the new Government’s 100-day plan after the 2017 general election. Funding for the costs associated with these proposals will be provided in Budget 2018. The measures are intended to provide increased support for working parents with newborns and young children.

It is important for child development that a child receive full-time personal care in the first year of their life, particularly in the first 6 months. Most working parents require monetary support to enable them to take time off work to provide this full time personal care. Providing parental leave and monetary support—

  • greatly assists a mother, father, or other primary carer to develop close bonds with the child; and

  • supports exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months (which is the World Health Organization’s recommendation); and

  • reduces parental and family stress,—

all of which improve short- and long-term child and society outcomes.

This Bill amends the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 to provide additional parental leave and monetary support to help parents achieve these improved outcomes.

Departmental disclosure statement

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment is required to prepare a disclosure statement to assist with the scrutiny of this Bill. The disclosure statement provides access to information about the policy development of the Bill and identifies any significant or unusual legislative features of the Bill.

Regulatory impact assessment

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment produced a regulatory impact assessment on 2 November 2017 to help inform the main policy decisions taken by the Government relating to the contents of this Bill.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 provides that Part 1 and Part 1 of Schedule 2 come into force on 1 July 2018, Part 2 and Part 2 of Schedule 2 come into force on 1 July 2020, and the rest of the Bill comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 3 states that the Bill amends the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (the principal Act).

Clause 4 inserts new Parts 4 and 5 into Schedule 1AA. These parts contain transitional provisions relating to the provisions in Parts 1 and 2, respectively, of the Bill.

Part 1Amendments to come into force on 1 July 2018

Clauses 5 to 13 amend various provisions of the principal Act to replace references to “18 weeks” with references to “22 weeks”. The amendments increase certain entitlements to parental leave and parental leave payments from 18 weeks to 22 weeks. Clause 7 also makes a corresponding change to the duration of primary carer leave that may be taken after the expected date of delivery (from 12 weeks to 16 weeks). These changes come into force on 1 July 2018.

Clause 14 and Part 1 of Schedule 2 amend the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Regulations 2016 to replace references to “18 weeks” with references to “22 weeks”. The amendments correspond to those made by clauses 5 to 13 and come into force together with those clauses.

Part 2Amendments to come into force on 1 July 2020

Clauses 15 to 23 amend various provisions of the principal Act to replace references to “22 weeks” with references to “26 weeks”. The amendments increase certain entitlements to parental leave and parental leave payments from 22 weeks to 26 weeks. Clause 17 also makes a corresponding change to the duration of primary carer leave that may be taken after the expected date of delivery (from 16 weeks to 20 weeks). These changes come into force on 1 July 2020.

Clause 24 and Part 2 of Schedule 2 amend the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Regulations 2016 to replace references to “22 weeks” with references to “26 weeks”. The amendments correspond to those made by clauses 15 to 23 and come into force together with those clauses.