In the 2014 Budget The Government has announced a package of extra support for families around paid parental leave, to take effect from the 2014/2015 tax year. Take a look at the end of this section for a summary of what these changes are, and how you can stay up to date with them. For now, we look at what your current entitlements are.
Under current legislation, employers are not required to provide women with any paid maternity leave. New Zealand employers are only required to provide 12 months of unpaid leave to permanent employees who have worked for at least 12 months prior to taking parental leave. See maternity leave entitlements.
Of course, many employers understand the benefit of providing paid maternity leave to attract and retain great employees. Other employers may offer their employees with a bonus to encourage them to return to work.
14 weeks paid maternity leave
Currently, 14 weeks of paid maternity leave is available to families. The payment is made by the Government and not employers.
Generally, 14 weeks of paid maternity leave will be for mothers of a newborn child or the parent of an adopted child. To get the payment, you must:
- be in paid work;
- have worked for the same employer for an average of at least 10 hours a week, and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month, and
- have worked for the same employer in the six or 12 months immediately before the baby’s expected due date or the date you have assumed the care of a child you intend to adopt
How much will I get paid from the Paid Maternity Leave Scheme?
If you are eligible under the Paid Maternity Leave Scheme, you can currently receive Maternity Leave payments of up to a maximum level of $488.17 per week before tax. You are entitled to either your gross weekly rate of pay (your pay before tax) or $488.17, whichever is lower.
Will I be able to get both parental leave and employer-provided maternity leave?
Yes, you will be able to get both employer-provided and Government Paid Parental Leave.
You can take Paid Maternity Leave before or after employer-provided paid leave or at the same time as employer-provided leave.
Can I still get the parental tax credit and claim the 14 week paid maternity leave?
If you are receiving payments under the Paid Maternity Leave Scheme, you will not receive a parental tax credit (except in the case of twins or multiple births).
Changes to parental leave
The Government has announced changes to parental leave provisions as part of the 2014 Budget:
- The current 14 weeks’ of paid parental leave will be increased in two stages - from 1 April 2015 paid parental leave will increase to 16 weeks and from 1 April 2016 leave provisions will be extended to 18 weeks.
- From 1 April 2016 parental leave payments will apply to more workers - in particular to people who have recently changed jobs, seasonal and casual workers, and workers with more than one employer.
- From 1 April 2016 primary carers, Home For Life parents and other carers with similar permanent care arrangements will be able to access paid parental leave
- For babies born on or after 1 April 2015, the Government will increase the parental tax credit from $150 a week to $220 a week, and extend the payment period from eight weeks to 10 weeks.
For more detail on the announcements see the release "Government to boost parental leave provisions by Minister of Labour, Hon Simon Bridges.
For more information on Paid Maternity Leave and to stay up to date as the proposed parental leave changes come into effect, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
For more information see Maternity Leave.
Last updated May 2014