Paid Parental Leave

This section brings together basic information about the rights and obligations of employeesemployers and self-employed people in respect of parental leave. It contains the current parental leave entitlements, featuring statutory paid parental leave for birth mothers, their partners, as well as adoptive parents.

What to expect

Changes to parental leave

  • Paid parental leave has been extended from 14 to 16 weeks from 1 April 2015.
  • The extension is one of two steps to extend paid parental leave to 18 weeks by 1 April 2016.
  • From 1 April 2015, the parental tax credit has increased from $150 a week to $220 a week, and the payment period was extended from eight weeks to 10 weeks.

The Government has proposed further changes to parental leave provisions that are intended to come into effect on 1 April 2016. These include:

  • Extending parental leave payments to non-standard workers (such as casual, seasonal, and employees with more than one employer) and those who have recently changed jobs
  • Extending entitlements to ‘primary carers’, such as Home for Life parents, whāngai, grandparents and others with permanent care arrangements.
  • Enabling employees to take the leave more flexibly, by mutual agreement with the employer.

MBIE has recently completed public consultation on the proposed changes and received almost 900 submissions. Overall, submitters (employers and employees alike) were positive about the proposals to modernise parental leave provisions.

All these changes will be reflected in an Employment Standards Bill which will be introduced to Parliament this year. The Bill will go through a normal select committee process including public submissions before it is passed into law.

Before the new law comes into force, MBIE will develop an information and education plan to inform businesses, including small businesses, and workers of the changes.

 

Further information (including application forms and sample letters) is available from:

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20 or the website www.dol.govt.nz