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Greens seek amendments to Paid Parental Leave

The Green Party will be seeking amendments to the Paid Parental Leave bill which is being introduced to parliament this afternoon.

The amendments the Greens will be seeking include:

* Extending the 12 weeks of paid parental leave to 14 weeks;

* Extending the scheme to self employed women;

* Removing the requirement for repayments on student loans to be made on paid parental leave.

"Fourteen weeks paid parental leave is the International Labour Organisation standard, of which New Zealand is a signatory. We have heard no justification as to why we are proposing to deviate from the international minimum standard," said Green Women's Affairs spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

"There is also no good reason why this scheme should not cover the self employed."

Ms Kedgley said she hoped there would be support for these amendments which would significantly strengthen the bill and bring it into line with international standards.

"The Green Party will also be seeking to extend the period of unpaid leave available to parents from one year to at least 18 months and extending the parental tax credit from eight to 14 weeks (the same period covered by paid parental leave)," she said.

"The Greens firmly support the principle of paid parental leave and we wish to acknowledge the effort of Laila Harre in getting a bill before parliament.

"There should not have been such a struggle to get such a commonsense bill before the House and we urge Laila and her colleagues to support our amendments which would improve her bill," said Ms Kedgley.

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