Parental leave for fixed-term women

Posted By TEU on Oct 8, 2015 |

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 33

Many more tertiary education workers could get access to paid parental leave if changes proposed in the Employment Standards Legislation Bill proceed.

TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb is welcoming many of the proposed changes to parental leave law in the bill, saying they give more women access to paid parental leave.

Although TEU is opposing other sections of the employment standards bill, including those relating to ‘zero hours’, the union has written a detailed submission supporting the parental leave changes.

McNabb says the current law prevents many women on fixed-term agreements or casual agreements from claiming paid parental leave because they cannot show they have a job to go back to at the end of their leave.

The proposed changes mean that workers will not need to show they have a permanent employment agreement with a job to return to, simply that they have been in employment for six or 12 months.

McNabb says this will benefit not just those seeking government paid parental leave but also all those who have parental leave provisions in their collective agreements, because collective agreements will use the same test.

There is widespread use of fixed-term agreements in the tertiary education sector, as well as extensive casual and hourly-paid employment.

“Many of these employees have worked consistently in the sector over several years and their inability to get paid parental leave has discriminated against them,” says McNabb.

TEU’s submission on parental leave advocates an increase in the maximum rate of paid parental leave to return it to at least the level of the minimum wage. It also argues to keep the concept of maternity leave within the law as a way of specifically protecting the rights of female employees during pregnancy and allowing them a period before and after giving birth, to prepare for and recover from the delivery.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Staff want to meet Lincoln VC candidates
  2. New rules for science investment
  3. Stats reveal Māori and Pasifika pay gap
  4. Secret trade agreement bad for education and democracy
  5. Shooting and bomb threats create fear

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