MPs have passed legislation extending paid parental leave and parental tax credits under Urgency this morning.
The Budget Measures (Financial Support for Newborn Children) Bill split into two bills – the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill (no 2) and the Taxation (Parental Tax Credit) Bill – passed its third reading on a voice vote.
The paid parental leave changes increase the length of paid parental leave to 18 weeks, up from the current 14 weeks. This will happen in two steps – to 16 weeks on 1 April 2015 and then to 18 weeks on 1 April 2016.
Opposition parties supported the bill, but said it should have gone further. Labour currently has a member’s bill in Parliament proposing parental leave be extended to 26 weeks.
The changes also increase the parental tax credit, but reduced entitlement thresholds in line with the Working for Families scheme.
MPs began the first reading of the Budget Measures (Miscellaneous Fiscal Matters) Bill which the Government intends passing through all stages.
Amongst other things the bill immediately suspends duties on plasterboard, reinforcing steel and nails, and tariffs on building products will be suspended from July 1. The bill also abolishes cheque duty from July 1 at a cost of $15.5 million over four years.
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