The Employment Relations Authority has overturned a decision by the Inland Revenue Department to decline a woman’s application for paid parental leave.

The woman was self-employed and worked 2-3 hours a day, earning a salary of $43,600, and another $7,000 in government subsidies. For paid parental leave, the Inland Revenue will match a person’s income up to $661.12 per week before tax.  

The woman took six months off from working after having her baby. The woman resumed work on reduced hours for two months, and then returned to her normal working hours.

The woman applied for paid parental leave nearly a year after her baby was born, after her accounts had been finalised and she knew the value of her income. Her application was declined because she had returned to her normal work hours.

Evidence showed that the woman only applied on May 6 because her accountant had told her that the Inland Revenue would need an updated value of her income. This meant the woman did not apply until after her accounts were reviewed for the year, which was after she resumed work.

Inland Revenue did not accept this evidence, finding that she did not meet criteria and was therefore ineligible to receive paid parental leave. Paid parental leave must be applied for either before a baby’s first birthday, or before the parent returns to work.

The woman challenged Inland Revenue’s decision with the Authority.

The Authority decided that it was not the woman’s fault that she had applied after she began work, as she was relying on her accountant’s advice. The Authority stated that it was reasonable for the woman to rely on her accountant’s advice regarding her income, and that was the only reason she applied so late.

The woman met the other criteria for paid parental leave, such as working an average of 10 hours per week for 26 weeks before her baby was born. The Authority overturned the Inland Revenue’s decision and approved the woman’s application.

It is important to be aware of the criteria for paid parental leave so you don’t miss out in cases similar to this. If you are confused about the process, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.  

 

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