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Ask A Specialist – What are my Paid Parental Leave Obligations?

Published July 06, 2018 (last updated June 22, 2022) -


Our Specialist Says:

On July 1 2018 the Paid Parental Leave entitlement in New Zealand extended from 18 weeks to 22 weeks. The maximum weekly rate for eligible employees and self-employed parents also increased from $538.55 to $563.83 gross per week. The number of ‘Keeping in Touch days’ an employee is entitled to also increased from 1 July 2018, meaning that an employee is able to work up to 52 hours without losing their entitlement

What kinds of Parental Leave are available to my employees?

There are five types of parental leave available to your employees, being primary carer leave, special leave, partner’s leave, extended leave, and negotiated carer leave.

For an employee to be able to take parental leave, they must have been employed by the same employer for at least an average of 10 hours a week in the six or 12 months immediately prior to the due date of their baby.

In the case of an employee who is assuming primary care for a child under six years of age, they must have been employed by the same employer for at least an average of 10 hours a week in the six or 12 months immediately prior to the day the employee becomes responsible for the child.

An employee of yours may be able to take parental leave for a subsequent child provided they still meet the parental leave criteria, and they have been back at work for six months before the due date of the child.

Are they required to give notice?

Yes. Before your employees can take parental leave, whether it is paid parental leave or not, they must provide advice to you in writing at least three months before the due date, or the date they expect to first assume care of a child under the age of 6.

The letter from your employee must outline the type of leave they are wanting to take, the date they intend to start the leave, and how long the leave will be. If the leave is being shared with an employee’s spouse or partner, it must also outline these details about the partner, as well as the details of their employer, if applicable.

Are any medical documents required?

Yes. A certificate from a doctor or midwife should accompany the letter, in the case of pregnancy, naming the mother and the due date. If an employee is instead taking primary care of a child, the letter must, as a minimum requirement, have a statutory declaration attached.

Parental leave enables your employees to take the necessary time to care for a new child at the time of birth, but this process has a lot of different factors to manage. For advice and support contact Employsure on 0800 568 012.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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