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Taking parental leave

As well as maternity and paternity leave, there are other leave options for eligible parents and carers. You may be able to get parental leave payments from the government.

Use the online tools to find out how much leave or financial income is available.

Types of parental leave

There is a range of leave options for:

  • special leave — unpaid leave for pregnancy-related appointments
  • primary carer leave
  • extended leave
  • spouse or partner’s leave
  • negotiated carer leave — if you’re not eligible for work leave.

Employment NZ has more information about leave, including when it’s for adoption, whāngai or temporary care.

Definition of a partner

A partner means the spouse or partner of the mother or nominated primary carer.

Calculate how much leave you can take

Use Employment NZ’s eligibility tool to find out how much leave you can take.

If you’re an employee the amount of leave depends on how long you’ve worked for your employer.

Parental leave eligibility tool

Leave criteria for employee hours and months worked

If you’re an employee, the SmartStart website explains the criteria for hours and months worked that you have to meet.

When you’re eligible and what you’ll get

Applying for parental leave

To apply to your employer for parental or negotiated care leave you need to apply in writing 3 months before the baby’s due date.

How to apply for leave

Employment NZ has guidance and document templates to use for an application.

While you’re on leave

Your annual leave if you’re an employee

When you’re on parental leave you continue to build up annual leave as long as you return to your job. Your payments for annual leave are affected in the 12 months after you return to work.

What you’ll be paid while you’re on annual leave

Keeping in touch days

If your employer agrees, you can work from time to time. These are called keeping in touch days and criteria apply. Find out more on Employment NZ’s website.

Keeping in touch days

When to notify your employer

You need to notify your employer in writing before you return to your job or if your plans for parental leave change.

Resolve a problem with leave or redundancy

Employment NZ has guidance on how to sort out problems with parental leave requests.

Sorting out parental leave problems

In some situations your employer doesn’t have to hold your job for you — for example if you’re made redundant. You have rights when this happens.

Protecting your job during pregnancy or parental leave

Sharing your unpaid leave

If you and your spouse or partner are eligible for parental leave, you can transfer some of your unpaid parental leave to them.

Check if you can share unpaid leave

The amount you transfer comes from your own 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave. The more you give them, the less you’ll have.

Check if your spouse or partner is eligible for leave and how much they can get.

Parental leave eligibility tool

Financial help 

Use the SmartStart website’s online checkers to find what financial help and paid parental leave (PPL) payments you are eligible for:

Caregiving and foster care

For information about caregiving such as foster care and financial help, contact Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children.

Financial help — Oranga Tamariki

If your baby arrives before its due date

Preterm baby payments may be available if a baby is born before your due date. 

Preterm baby payment

Death of a baby or child

Whetūrangitia Services provides information on financial support for family and whānau experiencing the death of a baby or child.

Whetūrangitia Services

Apply for your child’s IR tax number

If you apply for a government payment, you need an Inland Revenue (IR) tax number for your child.

Get an IR number for your child

On the SmartStart website you can register your baby, order the IR tax number and apply for Working for Families or a Work and Income benefit.

Register the birth 

Transfer your paid parental leave (PPL) payments

You may be able to transfer the payments to your spouse or partner if they’re eligible.

Check eligibility for and transfer a PPL payment

Check their eligibility using Employment NZ’s online tool.

The amount they get is based on:

  • how long your spouse or partner has been employed, and
  • if they meet the parental leave requirements.

Parental leave eligibility tool

Apply to Inland Revenue to transfer your PPL payment.

Apply to transfer my paid parental leave

When parental leave payments end

Working for Families are payments to families with dependent children aged 18 or under. Find out more and how to apply on the Inland Revenue website.

Working for Families

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