Preterm baby parental leave payments

Preterm baby payments may be available if a baby is born before the end of 36 weeks’ gestation. These are in addition to parental leave payments.

You may be able to get preterm baby payments in addition to parental leave payments if:

  • you are caring for a baby who was born live before the end of 36 weeks’ gestation, and
  • you are eligible for parental leave payments.

Who can get parental leave payments has more about who can get it.


The preterm baby payments are available for a continuous period of up to 13 weeks. It is paid at the same rate as the parental leave payment.

Amount of parental leave payment has more on this.

Start date

 The preterm baby payment period can start from:

  • the date the baby is born if the baby is born to you or your spouse, or
  • otherwise on the day you become the permanent primary carer for the child.

End date

The preterm baby payment period ends on the earliest of:

  • the date that would have been the end of the 36 weeks’ gestation had your baby not been born early, or
  • the date you returned to work as an employee or a self-employed person, or
  • the date you stopped being the primary carer of the child (unless you are the birth mother of the child).

Applying for a preterm baby payment

An application for a preterm baby payment is done through Inland Revenue in the same way and on the same form as applying for the parental leave payment. Applications must be made before your baby’s first birthday (or before you have had permanent primary responsibility for the child under six years, for 12 months).

Parental leave payment has more on how to apply.

Preterm baby payments for people getting parental leave payments

You should contact Inland Revenue so you can get the right entitlements, if:

  • you have already applied for parental leave payments and your baby is born before 37 weeks gestation and you become able to get a preterm baby payment (for the same child), or
  • you’re already getting parental leave payments (for the same child) and your baby is born before 37 weeks’ gestation. If you get preterm baby payments, your parental leave payments will stop and then start again when your preterm payments end (as long as you haven’t used up all of your 26 weeks parental leave payments and you still qualify).

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Page last revised: 01 July 2020

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