After taking urgency, Parliament has given a second reading to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill. The bill now needs to go through its committee stages and a third reading before becoming law.
A business statement from Leader of the House Chris Hipkins says the House will consider the remaining stages of the bill next week.
The bill amends the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 and will increase paid parental leave to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018, with a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.
It was introduced on 8 November by Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
"Our Government’s commitment to families is underscored by this legislation, which is the first to be introduced by the new administration, and we’re doing so with urgency,” Mr Lees-Galloway has said in a statement.
As reported in Hansard, the Leader of the House, Chris Hipkins sought urgency, saying without the use of urgency, the Government would be unable to progress any other business other than the Address in Reply debate, because the Order Paper has only just been reinstated.
"Therefore, there is an important element to doing that," he said.
"We did seek whether there would be leave forthcoming in order to introduce the bill without the need for urgency and do the first reading today, and it was clear that leave would not be granted for that. We also sought whether leave could be granted for the bill to have its first and second readings without the need for urgency, and there was not leave forthcoming for that either. Therefore, in order to progress this matter, in order to give the parents of New Zealand certainty as to when their paid parental leave increase will come into force, the Government believes that urgency is required."
The urgency motion was passed by 60 votes to 55.