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Fathers should get paid parental leave, say couple

Filed under: General — JohnPotter @ 4:25 pm Wed 21st September 2005

By ANNA SAUNDERS The Dominion Post

Legislation on paid parental leave discriminates against fathers, an Upper Hutt couple say.
Melissa Tiraha, 21, and Aaron Mahony, 28, are expecting their first baby this month.
Mr Mahony restores houses and Miss Tiraha works part-time and is also studying for a pre-police course at the New Zealand Institute of Sport, with plans to enrol at the police college next year.

If she misses her police college entry exams this year, which she has paid for, rules do not allow her to re-enrol for two years, she said.

So the couple decided Mr Mahony would stay at home and care for the baby, while Miss Tiraha finished her course.

But under paid parental legislation, fathers cannot directly receive payments.

Working mothers can transfer all or some their payments to the father and continue working, but fathers themselves are not entitled to paid leave.

They could separate and Mr Mahony could go on the domestic purposes benefit while Miss Tiraha finished her course.

Labour Department workplace policy acting manager Heather McDonald said the main reason for getting paid parental leave was that mothers needed “time off after the birth to physically recover and rest, and this entitlement allows them to do this without threatening their job security.”

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