An international children's charity and an academic are calling for paid parental leave to be back on the table for election year despite a bill to extend paid leave being withdrawn last year.
Studies show on average, women return to work when their child is six months old, which UNICEF says is an issue because the first 1000 days of life are important for the child's development.
"This is a vital time for children to be well supported and looked after, parental leave is a way of doing that," said UNICEF New Zealand's Jacqui Southey.
Academic author Prue Hyman agrees, saying not enough is being done in New Zealand to support mothers back into the workforce and extending paid leave would help.
"That will make a big difference if people aren't worrying about getting back to work before they should," Ms Hyman said.
However, the Government says it's not considering any changes to paid parental leave, simply because it's unaffordable.