Kim Woods with children Hudson (1) and Corban (1 week) at
their Glenross, Dunedin, home yesterday. Photo by Craig
The extra four weeks of paid parental leave was a move in
the right direction but not enough, Dunedin early childhood
centre teacher and manager Kim Woods said yesterday.
Mrs Woods (29), of Glenross, said her son, Corban, was born
last week and she had used her sick leave, annual leave and
was about to start her 14 weeks' paid parental leave.
She wanted to spend as much time as possible with her new
baby before she returned to her 25-hour working week at
Dunedin child-care centre Flippers.
''I'm lucky enough to work part-time, but if I worked
fulltime, the paid parental leave would be measly.''
But Mrs Woods was more concerned about the leave payment
duration, rather than the payment amount.
The Ministry of Health recommended breast-feeding for six
months - a greater length of time than the proposed 18 weeks
of parental leave, she said.
Breast-feeding at work, or expressing breast milk, were not
viable options for many mothers, she said.
''In a perfect world, the paid leave would be for six months,
or a year, like Sweden.''
She did not agree with the new funding to make early
childhood centres more accessible.
The Government should want fewer babies in early childhood
centres, she said.
''I certainly wouldn't want more babies at daycare.''
A child aged 2 and older could be in an early childhood
centre but a younger child should be cared for at home, Mrs
At Flippers, babies younger than 3 months were not enrolled,
but many Dunedin mothers needed to return to work earlier
because of financial pressures, she said.
Her husband, James Woods (30), a baker, said he would like
his wife to stay at home longer caring for their children,
but both parents needed to be working for the family to have
any financial freedom.
- $171.8 million increase to extend paid parental leave to 18
weeks, from 14 weeks.
- Additional $155.7 million for early childhood centres to
remain accessible and affordable, to meet demand pressures
and increase participation.
- $42.3 million increase to the parental tax credit, from
$150 a week to $220. The entitlement will increase from
eight weeks to 10, from April 1, 2015.