If an employee or self-employed person is taking leave to care for a new child they may be eligible for IRD’s parental leave payments.

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 of the child, 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 $712.17 before tax and deductions. If the ordinary weekly pay or average weekly income is less than $712.17, that amount is the maximum that will be received. The minimum amount a self-employed person may receive is $227 with the maximum amount also being $712.17.

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 by meeting the working requirements and they will be stopping work to be the main day-to-day carer of the child. Because these payments are based on the partner’s income, the amount payable may change after it is transferred.

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?

If an employee or self-employed person gives birth early and their parental leave payments have not started, they may 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, the date you return to work, or stopped being the main carer of the child.

These payments are also available to primary carers if the baby they will be caring for arrives prematurely. The premature baby payments can last for up to 13 weeks and once the premature baby payments end, parental leave payments will begin.

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