The Employment Relations Authority overturned the Inland Revenue’s decision to decline an unemployed woman’s paid parental leave. The IRD had previously told the woman that she was not eligible to apply for the leave entitlement because she was not employed at the time she applied.

In order to qualify for paid parental leave, a prospective primary carer of a child needs to have worked an average of at least 10 hours a week for at least 6 months before the child arrives. The entitlement for the primary carer is for 26 weeks of government-funded paid parental leave and 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave.

The woman made enquiries with the IRD in September 2020 when she was six months pregnant, and the IRD informed her that she was not eligible because she was unemployed. The baby was born in December 2020, and in April 2021 the woman found employment.

She enquired again in October 2021 and was referred to MBIE, who told her that she had missed the deadline for paid parental leave, which is before the earliest of the date that she returned to work or before the child’s first birthday, and was therefore ineligible for paid parental leave.

At this point, she applied to the Employment Relations Authority, who overturned the decision. The basis of this was that even though she was unemployed at the time of application, she had worked 26 weeks out of the 52 prior to the birth of her child, meaning she met the eligibility criteria.  

 

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