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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.

When to apply

Employees and self-employed people should make an application for parental leave payments (and preterm baby payments) as soon as possible because Inland Revenue need time to process the application. Employees often apply for parental leave payments as soon as their employer has agreed to leave arrangements.

If the baby hasn’t been born when the application is made, applicants can use their due date of delivery on their application form as the expected start date for the parental leave payment period. You don’t have to apply for parental leave payments (or preterm baby payments) before the child arrives, or at the start of the parental leave payment period (or preterm baby payment period).

If you apply later, the parental leave payment period start date will still be backdated to the date that the child was born or you became the primary carer of the child. If you have taken paid leave (such as annual holidays) 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. If you apply more than 18 weeks after your baby is born your payments will be paid as a lump sum.

Applications for parental leave payments must be made 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
  • you return to work (other than for keeping in touch days).

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 informaion.

Application form

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

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

  • 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 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 (eg hours they have worked and income earned) so that they can make a declaration if they can’t get the relevant information eg 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 177KB].

Parental tax credit

You should also have a look at the parental tax credit. For  some working families that have children it may be better to choose the parental tax credit option rather than get a parental leave payment (you can’t get both for the same child, or at the same time). This may be the case if you are on a low income, are having more than one child, or only want to take a short period of parental leave. Inland Revenue can help you to decide the best option for your situation, but you can’t change your mind once you have received either option.

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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