Paid parental leave still wanting: mum

Kim Woods with children Hudson (1) and Corban (1 week) at their Glenross, Dunedin, home yesterday...
Kim Woods with children Hudson (1) and Corban (1 week) at their Glenross, Dunedin, home yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
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 Woods said.

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.


Family package
- $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.


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