Parental leave payment scenarios

Employees and self-employed people may be able get parental leave payments while they’re not working so they can care for a new child.

Scenarios for people who may be able get parental leave payments:

Jacky (who meets the parental leave payment criteria for self-employment) decides to take a break from work for 26 weeks to look after their new baby and receive parental leave payments for this period. Partner Taylor (who has six months eligible service as an employee) could take one weeks’ partner’s leave when the baby is born and 26 weeks extended leave while Jacky returns to work.

Kerry and Hiki have been in contact with a mother who wishes to give up her newborn child for adoption, and they want to adopt her child. They instruct their lawyer to apply for an adoption order in the Family Court. Several months later, the Family Court issues an interim order which will place the child in their home in two weeks. Kerry and Hiki have decided that Kerry will be the primary caregiver. The couple will be permanently caring for the child and Kerry meets the time criteria (having worked full-time for 12 months), so Kerry is eligible for up to 52 weeks parental leave including 26 weeks primary carer leave and is also eligible for parental leave payments for up to 26 weeks. Kerry assumes care of the child the following week, starts primary carer leave then and applies to Inland Revenue for parental leave payments, sending them a certified copy of the interim order issued by the Family Court.

Kelly and Kim recently decided (following discussions with their whanau) to take on the permanent responsibility of caring for Kelly’s daughter’s baby (her grandson). They wish to jointly care for the baby boy, and have Kelly’s daughter’s consent for this. Kelly wants to take a break from self-employment as a gardener to look after the baby girl. Kelly has been self-employed for several years and works an average of 35 hours per week so meets the time criteria for a parental leave payment.

Kelly completes a statutory declaration form, stating that she will be taking permanent primary responsibility for the care, development and upbringing of a child under six. Kelly signs the statutory declaration in front of a Justice of the Peace (JP), and sends it with her application for paid parental leave to Inland Revenue.

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

Ming has worked full-time for the same employer for four months. Before that Ming worked full-time for a different employer for two years. Ming decides to apply to provide a child with a ‘home for life’ and is thrilled when it’s confirmed. The child is five years old. Ming applies for six months’ parental leave and, despite the fact that Ming hasn’t worked for the employer for six months, the employer agrees to give Ming negotiated carer leave for six months.

Ming then applies to Inland Revenue for parental leave payments. Because Ming will be at home looking after the child while receiving the payments, Inland Revenue approves Ming’s application.

Janet has assumed the care of a two-year-old child as a result of a private arrangement with the child’s mother. They haven’t decided how long Janet will look after the child for and it may be permanent, though they have also discussed the child returning to her mother when she starts school. Janet temporarily stops working in her self-employment to care for the child, and applies to Inland Revenue for parental leave payments. For Janet to get parental leave payments she must be an ’eligible’ self-employed person. Janet meets the self-employed time criteria but the private arrangement that Janet has is not a permanent arrangement which it must be for Janet to be eligible to get parental leave payments. Janet may be able to get other financial help through Work and Income or tax credits through Inland Revenue.

The Work and Income website(external link) has information on financial help.

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

Victoria wants to take 6 months’ parental leave, but is worried about how she will manage financially. She will have 4 weeks’ annual leave owing at the time her baby is due. Victoria has also earned 2 alternative days (for working on public holidays that were otherwise working days for her) and has 3 days’ time off in lieu (under a provision in her employment agreement for working overtime). Victoria has notified her manager that she will be taking 6 months parental leave. She asks her manager if she can take her 4 weeks’ annual leave, starting a week before her due date and then at the end of her annual leave take her alternative days and days off in lieu, her manager agrees. Victoria’s baby is born a day after her due date, while she is on annual leave. Victoria takes the rest of her annual leave and then her alternative days and time off in lieu. She applies to Inland Revenue for 26 weeks’ of parental leave payments, with her parental leave payment period starting the day after she finished taking her time off in lieu (4 weeks after her due date).

Katie will have been working full-time for the same employer for six months at the time of her baby’s due date. She lets her employer know that she’ll be taking:

  • 26 weeks’ primary carer leave starting three weeks before her baby’s due date, and
  • 4 weeks’ extended leave to care for her baby,

which makes a total of 26 weeks, the maximum leave she can take.

Katie’s baby girl is born unexpectedly seven weeks before her due date. Katie applies to Inland Revenue for preterm baby payments for four weeks (Katie is eligible to receive payments for the time until what would have been the end of week 36 of gestation).

Katie and her employer agree that she can go on parental leave early but she’ll work for a total of 12 hours over this early period (preterm keeping in touch hours, ie three hours for each of the four weeks she receives preterm baby payments) to finish up her projects and help with handover while her baby is in the neonatal unit. In addition to her preterm baby payments Katie receives parental leave payments when her preterm payment period is over.

Katie receives her 26 weeks’ parental leave payments and she comes back to work for two paid team building days (six hours each) during this time (well within the 40 ‘keeping in touch’ hours she is able to work). Following her extended leave, Katie returns to work.

Keeping in touch days has more about staying connected with your employer.

Mayce is going to take 52 weeks of parental leave. Mayce has to leave work much earlier than she planned when her midwife says she has to go on bedrest 12 weeks before her baby’s due date. She starts her primary carer leave when she goes on bedrest and starts receiving her parental leave payments then. After 4 weeks bedrest (and 4 weeks after her parental leave payment period started) Mayce’s baby is delivered at 32 weeks’ gestation (8 weeks before her original due date). Mayce notifies Inland Revenue, stops getting parental leave payments and starts getting pre-term parental leave payments. Mayce keeps getting pre-term payments until the time she would have reached the end of her 36th week of pregnancy had she not had the baby early. At this time her pre-term payments finish and she resumes her parental leave payments for the remaining 22 weeks she has left (26 weeks minus the 4 weeks she has already received).

Courtney has her baby earlier than expected at 30 weeks and she starts getting preterm payments. 3 weeks later, Courtney decides to go back to work part-time (20 hours a week) while her baby is in hospital. Courtney notifies Inland Revenue that she has returned to work and her preterm baby payments stop (she has had 3 weeks’ preterm payments).

Courtney could have continued to receive her preterm baby payments if she worked on her keeping in touch days. Keeping in touch days during the preterm baby payment period must not exceed the total of 3 hours multiplied by the number of weeks an employee receives a preterm baby payment). In this case, Courtney could have worked up to 9 hours and continued to receive her preterm baby payments.

Courtney works until her baby comes home from the hospital 1 week before her original due date. She then takes 1 week annual holidays as agreed with her employer. After this, she starts her 26 week parental leave payment period the day after her annual holiday entitlement ends and starting from the original due date. If Courtney worked on the day or after the original expected due date of her baby, other than for keeping in touch days, she would no longer be entitled to any parental leave payments.

Erina does two lunch shifts each weekend at a café, working four hours on each shift. She also fills in on a casual basis, behind the bar at her local pub when they are short-staffed.  Erina doesn’t have any set hours at the pub, she works when work is available and it fits in with her childcare arrangements. This can mean that some weeks she doesn’t do any pub work and other weeks she does a couple of shifts.

Erina doesn’t qualify for parental leave because she hasn’t worked for either of her employers for at least an average of 10 hours a week in the six or 12 months just before her baby is due. She has a look at her timesheets and works out that she has been employed for at least an average of 10 hours a week for 26 of the 52 weeks just before her baby’s date of birth when she adds her two jobs together. This means that although she doesn’t qualify for parental leave, she will qualify for parental leave payments if she isn’t working.

Erina applies to her manager at the café for negotiated carer leave. She also tells the bar manager at the pub that she won’t be accepting any shifts for the next six months so she can look after her baby full-time. The café agrees to Erina going on negotiated carer leave and employs someone else on a fixed-term agreement for six months to cover her shifts. Erina applies to Inland Revenue for parental leave payments for the first 26 weeks she is on negotiated carer leave.

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

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Page last revised: 01 March 2021

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