The Coalition Government should be flexible on Parental Leave and accept changes to their Paid Parental Leave Bill that would improve options for families, National Party Workplace Relations Spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“There are many instances where families would prefer both parents to be able to take leave at the same time, because of their particular circumstances,” Ms Adams says. “For example, if they have had twins, a caesarean, or a sick child.

“National’s proposed change recognises the role of both parents, and allows families to have the flexibility that suits their circumstances. It is good for parents, good for their baby and will help support women in the workforce.

“We’re surprised that Labour are not taking this idea up and we haven’t heard a sensible reason why they won’t. They should stop being dogmatic, and insisting that their legislation can’t be improved.

“Labour’s assumption that they know how every family would want to use its parental leave is frankly a bit nanny state. Why wouldn’t you simply give people the option to choose?”

Ms Adams says National will also promote a second change to Labour’s Bill that will increase the number of “keeping in touch hours” for parents to stay in touch with their workplace, commensurate with the extension to Paid Parental Leave.

“This is a straightforward tidy-up which frankly should have been done by the Government through a Cabinet Committee before they put the Bill in the House.”

Ms Adams says the Bill could have been improved significantly by having a proper process and time at Select Committee to discuss these and other ideas, and take submissions from the public.

“The strange thing is that the Bill does not take effect until 1 July next year, and that’s plenty of time to go to a Select Committee,” Ms Adams says.

Mrs Adams says National’s proposed change will ensure parents can spend more time at home supporting each other and bonding with their babies in those important and stressful early months, and will help them stay healthier.

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