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Adoption Related Leave

Published May 9, 2018 (last updated on April 17, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator

Adoption Related Leave

If an employee is assuming the permanent care of a child under six years old then they may be entitled to adoption related leave or parental leave entitlements.  The primary carer of the child can take up to 26 weeks of primary carer leave in one continuous period.  To be eligible, the employee must have worked for their employer at least 10 hours per week in the 6 months immediately preceding the assumption of responsibility for the care of the child.

Types Of Permanent Care That Adoption-Related Leave Covers

In New Zealand, there are several ways in which a person may assume permanent primary care of a child, including adoption, court order, Permanent Care through Oranga Tamariki, and whāngai.  Parental leave is not available for temporary care arrangements, such as foster care.

Process

An employee who is assuming the permanent care of a child under six must give their employer notice of their intention to take parental leave.  This notice must be given at least 14 days before the employee (or their spouse or partner) intends to become the primary carer of the child and be accompanied by a court order, letter from the Ministry of Social Development or a statutory declaration.

An employee can start their primary carer leave as early as six weeks before the date that they become the primary carer.  If the employer agrees, the employee may start primary carer leave at any date before they intend to become the primary carer of the child.

In most cases, an employee starts primary carer leave on the date they become the primary carer of the child, although it may be earlier to attend adoption interviews and examinations. To satisfy the needs of the individual and the business, the specific dates should be negotiated and agreed upon by the employer.

Extended Leave

On top of the 26 weeks of primary carer’s leave, employees may be able to take up to 52 week of extended leave (including the weeks that were taken as primary carer leave).

  • six month criteria: up to 26 weeks of extended leave (reduced by up to 26 weeks based on the amount of primary carer leave taken)

  • twelve month criteria: up to 52 weeks of extended leave (reduced by up to 268 weeks based on the amount of primary carer leave taken)

Extended leave may be shared with the employee’s spouse or partner, either taken consecutively or concurrently.

Why Have An Adoption-Related Leave Policy?

As part of a parental leave policy, the terms and conditions of adoption-related leave should be clearly communicated to employees. This reassures employees who may be thinking about adopting, but were previously unsure if it was a viable option to achieving their family-oriented goals. An adoption-related leave policy should outline the following details:

Adoption-Related Leave Payments

Ordinarily, time off on parental leave is unpaid unless the employer has agreed otherwise.  The employee may, however, be eligible for paid parental leave, including if they are assuming permanent primary responsibility for a child under six as an adoptive parent, Permanent Care through Oranga Tamariki, whāngai, a grandparent with full-time care or a permanent guardian.  To qualify the employee must have worked for an average of 10 hours a week in the 26 weeks in the year with any employer before the date the child come into their care.

For advice on how to manage adoption-related leave in the workplace, contact Employsure on 0800 568 012.

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