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Paid Parental Leave: Your Questions Answered

  May 11, 2022

Paid Parental Leave: Your Questions Answered

Paid Parental Leave: Your Questions Answered

Who can receive parental leave payments?

An employee or self-employed person will be eligible for parental leave payments if they are:

  • A mother expecting a new child; or
  • The mother of a child under one year; or
  • The primary carer of a child under 6 years (including adoptive parents, home for life parents, matua whangai, permanent guardians and grandparents with full time care); and
  • They have been employed for 10 hours per week (on average) for the past 26 weeks of the year before the due date, or date of becoming primary carer.

What parental leave payments can you receive?

  • If an employee or self-employed person is entitled to parental leave payments, they can receive these payments for up to 26 weeks once their leave begins. Any payments must be taken for a continuous period. 
  • Parental leave payments begin on the date parental leave is started, or the date the child is born, or the date of becoming the child’s primary carer (whichever is earlier). 
  • The latest that parental leave payments can start is the birth date of the child, the date of becoming primary carer, or the start of parental leave if a period of continuous paid leave was taken before this. 
  • The maximum amount that can be received per week is $621.76 before tax and deductions. If the ordinary weekly pay or average weekly income is less than $621.76, that amount is the maximum that will be received. The minimum amount a self-employed person may receive is $200 with the maximum amount also being $621.76.
  • Even though you cannot work when receiving parental leave payments you can still receive supplementary top-up payments from the employer, keeping in touch payments, and payments for any work completed before parental leave was started.
  • Applications for parental leave payments must be made before the employee or self-employed person returns to work, or the first anniversary of the child’s birth or of becoming the primary carer.  

Can parental leave payments be transferred to your partner?

Leave can be transferred to a partner of an employee or self-employed person as long as they qualify for paid parental leave and their partner meets the working requirements for paid parental leave. The leave will start the day after it is transferred to the partner, because it must be taken in one continuous period.

What other parental leave payments are available?

Preterm baby parental leave 

If an employee or self-employed person gives birth early (by more than 3 weeks) and their parental leave payments have not started, they will be entitled to premature baby payments. These payments can be received from the date the baby was born prematurely until the predicted 36th week of pregnancy. These payments are also available to primary carers if the baby they will be caring for arrives prematurely. Once the premature baby payments end, parental leave payments will begin. Further information can be found here.

Bereavement leave for miscarriage or stillbirth

Employees are entitled to take 3 days bereavement leave if they or their partner have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, or in some cases, where the employee is directly affected by someone else’s loss. Miscarriages can happen at any stage in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to 20 weeks. Losing a baby after 20 weeks is considered a still birth.

All employees (permanent, fixed-term, part-time and casual) can use bereavement leave if: 

  • they have worked for the employer continuously for 6 months or: 
  • they have worked for the employer for 6 months for 
  • an average of 10 hours per week, and 
  • at least 1 hour every week or 40 hours every month

Further information can be found here.

Stillbirth and death of a child

If an employee or self-employed person is eligible for primary carer leave and parental leave payments, then they will remain eligible regardless of whether their baby unfortunately dies before or after the birth. This allows them to take time away from work to attend to her health and wellbeing. 

Employees & self-employed would still be eligible for 26 weeks of parental leave payments if they:

  • meet the relevant eligibility work test as an employee or self-employed person
  • have not transferred the entitlement to parental leave payments 
  • have not returned to work since her payment period begins

Further information can be found here. If you’ve suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth and need support, you can contact: Sands New ZealandMiscarriage SupportSkylight

Want to know more about paid parental leave or need guidance understanding your entitlements? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are here to help. 

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