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Yes they certainly can. In New Zealand the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act sets out what the minimum standards are for dads considering taking Paternity Leave. Some employees can actually receive more generous entitlements than what the law states because they are covered by a specific Award or workplace agreement. Some employers also choose to provide their employees with more generous parental leave entitlements to attract and keep key employees. If you do not receive any of these additional benefits it’s still well worth knowing what you are entitled to by law.
Basically you can take paternity leave if you fall into one of the following 2 groups:
Currently, to be entitled to 12 months parental leave, you must be employed by your current employer for a minimum of 12 months prior to the birth of the child or placement of an adoptive child. This criteria is set to change from 1 April 2016 as the Government announced the in the 2014 Budget plans to extend the eligibility of paid parental leave to people in less-regular jobs or who recently changed jobs.
For more information on the announcements see the release Government to boost parental leave provisions by Minster of Labour, Hon Simon Bridges.
To stay up to date as the proposed parental leave changes come into effect visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
According to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act you can take up to 12 months as unpaid parental leave following the birth of your child or placement of an adoptive child under the age of 6. Parents can share this time provided they both meet the eligibility criteria, but the leave must be taken as one continuous period (either concurrently or one after the other).
This is unpaid parental leave and must not be more than a total of 52 weeks unpaid parental leave across both partners.
Last updated May 2014