31 Mar 2014

Change sought to paid parental leave

8:15 am on 31 March 2014

An employment lawyer wants a promise to return to a job dropped from paid parental leave rules, saying it can force employees to mislead their employers.

At present, employers must keep a job open while someone is on parental leave. If the employee doesn't intend to return to work, they are not eligible for the government-funded payment.

But lawyer John Hannan says research has shown fewer than half the people who take paid parental leave return to the same job afterwards. He says the law should be changed so people can take the leave without having to commit to return to their job.

The Labour Party's social development spokesperson, Sue Moroney, says such a change would need to be thoroughly costed, because if it went through, people who are not going back to their jobs would be entitled to payment.

Ms Moroney says many people decide not to return to work after they go on leave, not before.