Dads call for more support for fathers to take parental leave

Stuff 31 August 2019 
Kiwi dads are calling for employers and the government to support more fathers to take parental leave.

In 2017, about 300 Kiwi men – 1 per cent of those eligible – took paid parental leave, compared with 30,000 women.

A new campaign, Kiwi Dads, hopes to change those statistics and normalise fathers taking time off work to care for their kids.

Currently, dads can take up to two weeks of unpaid parental leave.

If they are the primary caregiver of a child younger than 6, men can also get 22 weeks of paid leave from the Government, capped at $585.80 per week before tax – provided their partner does not also claim the payments too. However, hardly any men access this.

For Adam Walters, being able to take 18 weeks of parental leave at full pay thanks to a policy his employer had was “amazing”. His employer, Scentre Group, which operates Westfield malls across the country, introduced the new policy shortly before the birth of his second son Louis a year ago.

“It’s got to be my biggest challenge that I’ve ever undertaken I think. But at the same time the most rewarding,” Walters said.

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