Shared Parental Leave and Paternity Leave in New Zealand: Let Dads Be Dads

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Kia ora and thank you for supporting this kaupapa.

A kind supporter has let me know that we are more likely to get Government to take notice of our campaign if we use the official petitions page of New Zealand Parliament. 

The petition is now live on the Parliament site and I urge you to head over there and take a moment to add your name to the petition for Shared Parental Leave and Paternity Leave in New Zealand.

Thank you again, and please share the petition with your whānau. 

The full link for sharing is:



30,000 women took paid parental leave in New Zealand in 2017. The number of men? Just 324 – around 1% of parents taking leave.

Most young people I speak to assume that parental leave in New Zealand can be shared between both parents, however you choose. Nope.

It's time to make it easier for dads to be dads, to have a positive influence on their children's lives, to bond with their babies, and for parents to be able to share leave - at the same time, consecutively, whatever is best for them.


The Situation in New Zealand

While the primary carer (assumed to be the birth mum) gets 22 weeks of paid leave, the secondary carer doesn't get any paid leave at all. The primary carer's partner can get 1-2 weeks of unpaid leave, if they meet certain requirements. Paid parental leave can be split between parents, but it's not the default option, not easy to find out how to do it and still can't be used at the same time.


Both Mums and Dads should get Paid Parental Leave

Let's be realistic. New mums need time to recover after giving birth and, if they are breastfeeding, it makes sense for them to be the ones taking time off earlier in their new baby's life. Especially as only one parent can use the paid leave at a time, under current rules. So it totally makes sense that not many dads are using the paid primary carer leave in those first 22 weeks.

  • Recommendation: Allow dads to use their parental leave at any time up until the child's first birthday.


Enable Dads to be Dads with a "Daddy Quota"

Another reality check. Even in countries with Shared Parental Leave (SPL), like the UK (since 2015), women still use the vast majority of the leave. Only when we offer paternity leave on a “use it or lose it” basis (like the 'Daddy Quota' in Norway, Sweden and Iceland) do men feel supported and encouraged and enabled to take the time out to bond with their babies.

  • Recommendation: In addition to SPL, reserve one month of leave for each parent on a “use it or lose it” basis.


If and when my husband and I have a baby, we want the choice to share the leave between us, so we can parent equally and have an equal role in our child's life.
125 years after NZ became the first country in the world where women got the right to vote, it's time for Aotearoa to stop lagging behind on this important social issue.


For more information on this topic, visit:
Why aren't more men taking paternity leave? (North & South, June 2018)
How NZ paid parental leave compares to the rest of the world (Stuff, November 2017)
Paid-partner leave would help close gender pay gap - expert (RNZ, May 2018)