Parents of newborns get four more weeks of paid parental leave in NZ, starting today

Kiwi parents of newborn babies will be getting an extra four weeks of paid parental leave from today.

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The maximum weekly payment is also increasing by $20 per week, as families get an extra four weeks of paid leave. Source: Breakfast

The paid parental leave scheme in New Zealand is extending from 22 weeks to 26 weeks, taking New Zealand up to a full six months of leave for new parents. 

The maximum weekly payment is also increasing by $20 per week.

The scheme applies to parents with children due on or after 1 July. It was last extended in July of 2018 from 18 to 22 weeks.

At the time of announcing the 22-week extension, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway said Government would be implementing a further extension in July 2020 to 26 weeks.

New Zealand sits ahead of Australia, which gives its parents 18 weeks, but even the latest update doesn’t go as far as some European countries.

The United Kingdom offers 52 weeks, and Sweden offers 16 months.

The Government has also announced a number of other changes that take place today, including its latest petrol tax increase, which will see prices at the pump raised by 3.5 cents per litre.

"For households with one vehicle travelling the average number of kilometres per year (11,500km) the increase on 1 July 2020 will add around $35 to $40 extra per year which equates to around 67 to 76 cents per week," states the Ministry of Transport.

The cost of a road user charges distance licence for a light vehicle (eg a car, van, ute) will be $76 (up from $72) per 1000 km, including GST, according to the Ministry.

Free apprenticeships in "critical industries", a pay rise for early childhood educators, and a lifting of the refugee quota also come into affect today.