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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If your baby arrives before its due date
Preterm baby payments may be available if a baby is born before your due date.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Apply to Inland Revenue to transfer your PPL payment.
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.