Kiwis divided on paid 'father leave' for dads of newborns

New Zealanders are split on Family First's call for fathers of newborn babies to get at least two weeks paid parental leave, judging by reaction to the idea on social media.

"Yes yes yes, both parents deserve to spend that first weeks with their NB baby. Father should be treated the same way as mothers, totally agree," SIarai Luafale T Wily wrote on the ONE News Facebook page where the story has reached more than 109,000 people and attracted well over 300 comments.


Family First, which promotes traditional family values, has submitted the proposal to a Parliamentary committee considering a parental leave amendment bill.

The organisation supported extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks, and wanted paid "father leave" for at least two weeks, rising to four weeks.

Currently new Kiwi dads are allowed two weeks of unpaid leave, and Family First National director Bob McCoskrie says having paid leave will promote hands-on parenting by fathers.

On Facebook, Paora Te Oka disagreed, posting: "Giving paid parental leave won't guarantee hands on parenting from fathers. I think men make a decision early on about the type of father they will be regardless. Surely mums don't want to babysit their husbands as well."   

But Jason McIver wrote: "They should definitely give new fathers paid parental leave, that is when the mother needs the father to be there and to help with the adjustment it promotes a bit more gender equality. Fathers play a huge role and both the mother and Father are new parents to the child, not just one."

Mike Mccutcheon said "no way" should new fathers get paid parental leave and went even further.

It was amazing having my partner at home for those first couple of weeks - Kim Bamber on the ONE News Facebook page

"In fact there should be no paid parental leave. We raised our family with out lumbering the cost on the employer. I'm not self employed I am just a Joe blogs who disagrees with paid parental leave. I just don't understand why the employer has to pay mum or dad to stay at home and have to pay to cover that position on top."

Australia introduced the "Dad and Partner" pay scheme in 2011, which provides fathers with two weeks' leave after the birth of a child with a minimum wage.

Kim Bamber wrote on Facebook that she had experience with the Australian scheme.

"It was amazing having my partner at home for those first couple of weeks, it went so fast.Although the paid parental leave came from his employer he could of been eligible for 2 weeks paid leave through Centrelink which pays $550 a week which is minimum wage in Aus," she wrote.

Bob McCoskrie said Family First polling indicated 68 per cent of New Zealanders supported the idea of paid father leave.