The Human Rights Foundation has told the Government Administration Select Committee that it supports the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave) Amendment Bill. For the HRF, Geraldine Whiteford told the Select Committee that enacting the Bill will promote the health and well being of working mothers and their babies, enhance the rights of such women workers to gender equality and ensure that New Zealand more fully complies with several requirements of our international human rights obligations.
“While the Bill applies to both sexes”, said Geraldine Whiteford, “the gendered nature of child care in New Zealand society means that the Bill will in reality apply principally to female workers who are in paid employment or are self-employed”.
The Bill will also have significant economic and social benefits, particularly enabling working mothers who give birth to spend more time at home nurturing their babies at a crucial stage of a baby’s life. The first few months of a baby’s life are the most important in setting the foundation for the child’s long term health and development. It will also enable fathers, increasingly involved at this stage of their children’s early development, to fulfill their important role.
Geraldine Whiteford also said that the Bill will encourage a return to work for working mothers and promote increased earnings after parental leave.