Paid Parental Leave

Paid parental leave means money paid to a parent – mother or father – when a woman has a baby. At the moment, the tax payer pays a woman to stay at home for 14 weeks to look after her baby. The father can receive the money instead of the mother if he chooses to look after the baby instead.

A Labour Party MP, Sue Moroney, wants to extend the 14 weeks to 26 weeks. Her member’s bill to extend paid parental leave was chosen by ballot. It is unusual for a bill from an Opposition MP to go to Parliament for discussion. Usually bills are from Government MPs.

The Labour Party thinks that a majority of MPs will support the bill. It will be discussed in Parliament then it goes to a committee which looks at the details including the cost. When it comes back to Parliament for the final vote, the Minister of Finance, Bill English, says that the National Party will veto the bill because there is not enough money. This means that discussion of the bill is a waste of time.

At the moment, 14 weeks paid parental leave costs $150m. Bill English says that extending the leave to 26 weeks would cost half a billion dollars over four years. Sue Moroney says her idea is for a gradual change over the next four years.

The Labour Party is likely to win support from voters for this bill which is popular. The government could lose support from voters if it vetoes the bill.

Vocabulary

to take leave – to take time off from your job
extend – make it longer
A Bill becomes an Act of Parliament after it is passed by a majority of MPs
ballot – luck, drawing names out of a hat
majority – more than half
veto – a person or organisation has the power to say ‘No’. It is a noun and a verb. The government can veto any members’ bill which will cost too much money.
gradual – slowly, e.g. an extra three weeks each year for four years.
popular – many people like it

Questions

1. Do you think the government should pay a woman to stay at home after she has her baby?
2. Is 14 weeks enough?
3. Is it a waste of time to discuss this bill in Parliament?






One Comments

  1. This thing just cuts both ways. Advantage is woman can stay at home longer time for rest after baby is born. 14 weeks is not enough for some of them who are physical workers. And government need to find other to solve.

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