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Budget 2024: The Government has announced FamilyBoost, a proposed new childcare payment to help eligible families with the rising costs of Early Childhood Education (ECE). Find out more:

You can qualify for paid parental leave as an employee or a self-employed person if you’re taking time off work to care for your child and you have worked over the previous 52 weeks.

See ‘Work record’ below to see if you qualify.

You also need to be the child’s primary carer.

Who can apply for paid parental leave

You need to take time off work

To get the payments, you must take time off from work to care for your child or not be working for the period you receive paid parental leave payments.

If you resign from work

If you resign from work, you can continue to get payments, as long as you meet the paid parental leave requirements.

If you’re not working

If you meet the work record requirements (described below) you do not need to be working at the time you apply for paid parental leave.

Work record

Both employees and self-employed people can qualify for paid parental leave.

We look at your work record over the 52 weeks immediately before either:

  • your expected due date (person who gave birth)
  • the date you became the primary carer.

You must have worked for an average of at least 10 hours a week for any 26 weeks over the 52-week period.

Check out the example in the blue box at the bottom of the page.

Income from various sources

When you’re checking to see if you’ve worked 10 hours in a week, you can combine:

  • (if you are an employee) the hours from all of your jobs
  • (if you are self-employed) the hours from all of your business activities.

If you work as both an employee and self-employed person, you cannot combine the hours worked in each capacity to meet the work requirements. You must meet the hours worked requirements as either an employee or self-employed person.

This means, if over the relevant period, you only worked an average of 5 hours a week as an employee and 5 hours a week as a self-employed person, you will not qualify.

‘Sufficient connection’ to New Zealand

Your work must have a ‘sufficient connection’ to New Zealand to be eligible for paid parental leave.

For employees, this could mean you work for a New Zealand employer and your employment relationship is controlled by New Zealand employment law.

For self-employed people, this generally means you pay income tax in New Zealand.

Working out if you have a ‘sufficient connection’ to New Zealand can be tricky, so please check with us if you’re unsure.

You can apply early

You can apply for paid parental leave even if you haven’t met the ‘work record’ requirements yet ─ if you’ll meet them by your due date or the date the child comes into your care.

Applications for paid parental leave

Keeping in touch hours

If you’re an employee, you can use ‘keeping in touch hours’ to check in with work from time to time and still keep your full paid parental leave entitlement.

Keeping in touch hours

Example: Manaia’s work record

Manaia is a young mother who works part time as a real-estate agent while she cares for her 2 children.

She’s expecting her third child, and the expected due date is 16 August. In July, she checks to see if her work record will qualify her for paid parental leave.

Her hours worked over the 52 weeks ending on 15 August are:

Week number Total weeks Hours worked per week
1-18 18 15
19-31 13 0
32-46 15 15
47-52 6 5
- 52 -

To qualify, Manaia should look at the 26 weeks where she worked the highest number of hours.

Her work record shows at least 26 weeks where she has worked 15 hours a week (between weeks 1-18 and 32-46). Therefore, she has worked an average of 15 hours in 26 weeks.

That means Manaia will be able to receive paid parental leave payments ─ provided she meets all the other relevant requirements.

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Last updated: 22 Feb 2024
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