Friday, August 10, 2007

In the ballot - Paid Parental Leave Entitlement bill

Over at No Right Turn, there is another roundup of bills in the ballot.One of them is the Parental Leave Entitlement (Lump Sum Payments) Bill This bill, from Paula Bennett, proposes to amend the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 to allow those eligible for paid parental leave the option of receiving a lump sum rather than fortnightly payments.

But theres a catch. If you get a benefit you don't qualify. That may sound fair enough, but what this means is that those who are working part time and on an abated benefit wont qualify, but even worse, those who are getting an accomodation supplement - even as a non-beneficiary - won't qualify either unless they suspend their supplement before taking leave, as the accommodation supplement is defined as a benefit under S3 of the Social Security Act 1964.

But Working For Families is paid for by IRD unless you are on a core benefit. Over at No Right Turn it is claimed that WFF payments are "benefits" and therefore anyone who accesses WFF will not be eligible for Paid Parental Leave under this bill.

Yet WFF payments are not classed as "benefits" under the Social Security Act, even though they are paid by MSD if you are on a core benefit. Not sure whether they are classed as "benefits anywhere else, either. Neither are student allowances. If you work while collecting these you should still be able to access the provisions of this bill when it becomes law - but the provision regarding accommodation supplements appears not to have been thought through very well and will need to be changed.

UPDATE Just had a Mark Prebble moment...

I should have also remembered to say that most students on the student allowance get the accommodation supplement - and many of them work. I am one. Now even though that is paid via Studylink, the fact that accommodation supplement is a benefit will preclude such workers being eligible under the Bennett bill.

1 comment:

Idiot/Savant said...

The Accomodation Supplement is certainly classed as a benefit under the Social Security Act (right there in cl (b) (iii) of the section you link to), and its extension was a key part of WFF. So this is going to affect a large number of people and rob them of their eligibility.

If the bill is drawn, I'd hope that this clause is removed. Without it, the bill seems fairly unproblematic.