Adoption leave is a form of parental leave for employees who become the primary carer of a child under six years old who is not their natural child, on a permanent basis. Adoption leave entitlements are based on a primary carer’s leave entitlements. This means employees can take up to 18 weeks of adoption leave for a single continuous period.
In New Zealand, there are many types of providers who offer permanent care arrangements. Maternity leave for adoption is available to employees who become the permanent carer of a child under six years through adoption, Home for Life and Whāngai. Adoption leave is not available through foster care or any other temporary basis.
There is no formal agreement for when adoption leave can start, but employees may start adoption leave as early as up to six weeks before they become the primary carer of the child. If the employer agrees, the employee may start adoption leave earlier.
In most cases, an employee starts adoption 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.
On top of the 18 weeks of primary carer’s leave, employees may be able to take up to 34 weeks of extended leave. To be eligible for extended leave, an employee must meet the six or twelve month criteria. The calculations for extended leave are as follows:
As part of a parental leave policy, the terms and conditions of adoption 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 leave policy should outline the following details:
Adoption leave payments are calculated the same way as other parental leave entitlements. This means the payments must equal the greater of:
These payments may include regular productivity or incentive-based payments (commissions) and overtime payments. If an employee has an irregular average weekly income, an employer can add together all of their gross weekly earnings from the 26-week period they earned the most money.
For advice on how to manage adoption leave in the workplace, contact Employsure on 0800 675 700.