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.

Paid parental leave (external link) on the Inland Revenue website has more information and application forms.

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

Application form

Get your application form for parental leave payments from Inland Revenue and return the completed form to Inland Revenue.

Paid parental leave application form (external link)

You will need to choose the right form for your own situation depending on whether:

  • You are an employee or self-employed person applying for a parental leave payment, or
  • You are applying to transfer some or all of your parental leave payments

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. You may need to ask your employer to sign the declaration on your application form.

Employer’s declaration

Employers must fill in their part of the forms, whether they believe the employee is eligible or not, and whether the employee is currently employed by them. 

If your employer refuses to sign your application form, you should firstly discuss the matter with them. If you are unable to resolve the matter, consider seeking assistance from the Labour Inspectorate’s Labour Standards Early Resolution Team by calling 0800 20 90 20.

Employees who have worked for one employer

Employees who have worked for just one employer for 26 of the 52 weeks up to their due date or the date the child arrives in their care, and whose income is just from that employer, need to ask their employer to confirm their employment and income details and sign their application form for a parental leave payment.

Employees who have worked for more than one employer

Employees who have worked for more than one employer to meet the criteria for a parental leave payment don’t need their employers to confirm their details, but they will need to provide their own declaration. They may need to get accurate information from their employers (e.g. hours they have worked and income earned) so that they can make a declaration if they can’t get the relevant information e.g. from their payslips.

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

Working for families tax credits (external link) on the Inland Revenue website has information on the four types of tax credits that you may be entitled to.

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Page last revised: 03 November 2020

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