Applying for parental leave payments

Employees and self-employed people apply for parental leave payments through Inland Revenue. They must apply before the earlier of 12 months since the child's arrival, or when they return to work.

You must apply for paid parental leave payments:

  • before your baby’s first birthday if you or your spouse or partner gave birth to the child, (or otherwise before you have had permanent primary responsibility for the child under 6 years for 12 months) and
  • before you return to work (other than for keeping-in-touch days).

We suggest you apply for parental leave payments (and preterm baby payments) as soon as possible to make sure your family doesn’t miss out. Employees often apply for parental leave payments when their employer has agreed to their leave arrangements.

If the baby hasn’t been born when you apply, you can use their due date of delivery on their application form as the expected start date for the parental leave payment period.

If necessary, you can apply for parental leave payments (or preterm baby payments) after the child arrives, or after the start of the period. In this case, the payment period start date will be backdated to the date that the child was born or you became the primary carer of the child. Applications you submit more than 22 weeks after your baby is born will be paid as a lump sum.

If you take paid leave (such as annual leave) at the start of your parental leave period, the parental leave payment period start date would be backdated to the day after your paid leave ends. Find out more on the Inland Revenue website.

Paid parental leave – Inland Revenue (external link)  

Parental leave payment scenarios and Parental leave scenarios both have further useful information.


Complete your application for parental leave payments in your Inland Revenue myIR account. 

Apply for paid parental leave – Inland Revenue (external link)

If you’re transferring some of your parental leave payments, you can choose to do so when you apply, or by completing a transfer request.

Transfer my paid parental leave – Inland Revenue (external link)

Make sure that all the information in your application and your supporting documents are complete and accurate. It’s an offence to give inaccurate information or hold back relevant information with the intention to mislead when making an application. 

Employers are required to give their employees information about parental leave payments. They should use the following notice.

Notice for employees about tax payer funded leave entitlements [PDF 462KB]

Best Start payment

You can also look into the Best Start payment, a weekly payment of $60 (up to $3,120 per year) per child for a baby born on or after 1 July 2018. After the first year, you may continue to receive Best Start payments based on your income and family situation until the child turns three years old.

If you're planning to get paid parental leave then your Best Start payments will start once your paid parental leave payments end. The Inland Revenue website has information on the four types of tax credits that you may be entitled to.

Working for families tax credits – Inland Revenue (external link)  

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Page last revised: 01 March 2021

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