Parents will have 22 weeks of paid leave starting in July next year and 26 weeks' leave by July 2020 with the passing of a bill in Parliament today - the first major law change of the new Government.

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill passed its third and final reading this afternoon with unanimous support. The current entitlement is 18 weeks.

Fittingly, Labour MP Willow Jean-Prime took her call on the bill with her baby daughter Heeni in her arms.

Speaking at the reading, Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway praised former Labour MP Sue Moroney, who was in the chamber to witness the bill's passing, for championing the issue in the previous term.

Last year Moroney's bill was passed in Parliament, but vetoed by the previous Government for being unaffordable at the time.


"This move is great news for babies, parents and families. It will provide greater financial certainty and confidence for working families," Lees-Galloway said.

He also took a veiled shot at National's Amy Adams by heaping praise on National MP Sarah Dowie, whose amendment for extending Keeping in Touch hours was adopted by the Government.

"That is an approach this Government wants to take," Lees-Galloway said. "When a good idea comes up, we don't care where it comes from."

He said that Dowie had made a good point and had worked constructively with him, something he has accused Adams of not doing.

The Government previously voted down Adams' amendment that would have allowed parents to split the leave, citing poor drafting. But it will look to introduce its own bill to enable leave-sharing at the start of next year.

Adams said there were many examples where parents would love to be able to take paid leave at the same time during the first weeks of parenthood, and was disappointed her idea was not adopted.

She also asked whether the weekly paid parental leave amount of $538.55 gross was enough. She said the payment would be 23 per cent lower than the minimum wage by the time that was boosted in April to $16.50 an hour.

National MP Erica Stanford, who took 14 weeks' paid leave with her own children, said her thoughts were with the parents-to-be who were just finding out that they were pregnant.

"They will be waking up tomorrow knowing they will have this paid parental leave. That's a really awesome thing to think about."

But she said she was disappointed that her colleagues' attempt to change the bill and give parents more choice was not adopted.

"It was a huge missed opportunity."