24 April 2012
An international trade union conference on maternity protection has adopted the extension of paid parental leave to 26 weeks as a priority for the Asia/Pacific/Middle East region. Participants at the International Trade Union Confederation and International Labour Conference held last week in Singapore also signed a collective letter calling on Finance Minister Bill English not to veto Labour MP Sue Moroney’s PPL Bill and to work instead to implement the objectives of the Bill.
Rebecca Matthews from FIRST Union, who represented the Council of Trade Unions at the conference said that extending the length of paid parental leave was important to working women and their families throughout the region. “Longer paid parental leave supports breastfeeding and baby and maternal health.
It supports the return of women to the workforce, and takes the pressure off family income around the birth of a new baby.”
Rebecca Matthews said that the conference showed that parental leave was not a luxury for rich countries or rich families, but was an essential work right that supports best outcomes for families with young children. “New Zealand can and should adopt a longer period of paid parental leave.
Unionists in New Zealand and overseas will be working alongside community organisations to make longer paid parental leave a reality. Here, that means building support for Sue Moroney’s Bill, and making sure that Bill English knows that voters want him to deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave, not veto it.”
The letter supporting 26 weeks paid parental leave in New Zealand was signed by representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Palestine, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.