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Parental leave eligibility

Employees may be able to take leave from work to care for their new child.

There are different entitlements available to parents depending on whether you’re:

  • an employee who meets the six or 12 month eligibility criteria, or
  • self-employed. 

To be eligible for paid parental leave, you will need evidence that:

  • you work for a New Zealand employer
  • you pay income tax to New Zealand, and
  • your employment relationship is subject to New Zealand employment law.

What to know

Who will be the primary carer

If you (or your partner) are giving birth to the child, the birth mother will be the primary carer in the first instance, however she can transfer all or some of her parental leave payment entitlement to her partner if:

  • they both meet the parental leave payment test for either employees or self-employed people, and
  • the partner will be stopping work to have the primary responsibility for the day to day care of the child, while receiving the parental leave payment.

If you or your partner are not giving birth to the child, you will need to decide who will be the primary carer.

Primary carer means:

  • a female who is pregnant or has given birth to a child; or
  • her partner, if she has transferred all or part of her entitlement to a parental leave payment to her partner (or if they have succeeded it) in which case the partner is the primary carer for the period of time in relation to which the entitlement is transferred; or
  • a person, other than the birth mother or her partner, who takes permanent primary responsibility for the care, development, and upbringing of child who is under the age of 6 years, (and if there is more than 1 person, the person nominated). 

Partner means: the spouse or partner of the mother or nominated primary carer, male or female, same sex or different sex.

Employee parental leave payment test

An employee meets the test if they will have been employed as an employee for at least an average of 10 hours a week for any 26 of the 52 weeks just before the due date of the baby or the date they or their partner becomes the primary carer of the child under 6 permanently. The employment for this test can be with more than one employer and doesn’t have to be continuous employment.

6 month employment criteria

An employee meets the 6 month criteria for parental leave if they will have been employed by the same employer for at least an average of 10 hours a week in the 6 months just before the due date of the baby or the date they or their partner becomes the primary carer of the child under 6 permanently.

12 month employment criteria

An employee meets the 12 month criteria for parental leave if they will have been employed by the same employer for at least an average of 10 hours a week in the 12 months just before the due date of the baby or the date they or their partner becomes the permanent primary carer of the child under 6.

Self-employed parental leave payment test

A self-employed person meets the parental leave payment threshold test if they will have been self-employed for at least an average of 10 hours a week for any 26 of the 52 weeks just before the due date of the baby or the date they or their partner becomes the primary carer of the child under 6 permanently. The self-employment for this test can be of more than 1 type and doesn’t have to be continuous.

Notes:

  • All entitlements in the table are the maximum entitlements, eg. an employee who can take up to 26 weeks’ primary carer leave, doesn’t have to take all or any of the 26 weeks.
  • The table does not include additional parental leave payments that may be entitled if a baby is born before 37 weeks’ gestation.
  • In the table, mother means the primary carer.

 


Special situations to be aware of

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Page last revised: 07 October 2022

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