National MP Sarah Dowie is pleased that the Government has adopted her amendment to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill which boosts the number of hours that parents on Parental Leave can return to work without forfeiting their entitlement.
“Extending the number of keeping-in-touch days is great for parents and means that they can maintain the balance between time off to care for baby and the connection with their workplace, without worrying about losing their leave entitlements,” Ms Dowie says.
The amendment extends the number of keeping-in-touch days commensurate to the extension of Paid Parental Leave. A parent will not be treated as having returned to work if they perform 52 (up from 40) hours or fewer of paid work during their leave period. This takes effect when the leave is increased from 18 to 22 weeks on 1 July 2018. It will then extend to 64 hours when the leave is further increased from 22 to 26 weeks on 1 July 2020.
“Many parents like to be able to pop into work from time to time while they’re on leave with their little one so it makes sense to ensure that if we extend the parental leave period we also extend the number of keeping-in-touch days,” Ms Dowie says.
“This amendment is a straightforward tidy-up which the Government should have done through a Cabinet Committee before rushing the Bill through Parliament.
“I’m glad that in this case the Government has seen sense and adopted my change to the Bill, although it is disappointing and surprising that they have not taken up National’s other proposed change which would have allowed both parents to take Paid Parental Leave at the same time.”