A number of changes have just been made to paid parental leave (PPL), making it better for New Zealand families. All the new changes are aimed at helping New Zealand families during the first few weeks.  If your baby is born or due on or after 1 April or you take permanent full-time care of a child under six then these changes apply to you if you are eligible for paid parental leave.  

Here’s an overview of the key details. If you have any questions, or to find out more about paid parental leave payments visit; www.ird.govt.nz/paid-parental-leave 

Extension in the number of weeks payments are received 
People who meet all the criteria for PPL will now receive payments for up to 18 weeks instead of 16 weeks if their baby is born or due or they take full-time permanent care of a child under six on or after 1 April 2016.

The level of payments is matched to the person’s income, with the maximum amount being $516.85 per week before tax. If a person earns over $516.85 a week, they will receive $516.85 per week for their PPL payments.

I don’t work in traditional employment, am I eligible for PPL payments?
Previously PPL was only available to people who had been with in continuous employment for more than six months prior to the expected due date or adoption of a child. This is no longer the case. PPL has now been extended to include people who complete casual and seasonal work, those with more than one employers and people who have recently changed jobs.
Here’s an overview of the work situations that qualify for PPL before and after 1 April 2016.

   ***** Work situations qualifying for PPL *****
Up to 31 March 2016  /  

You have worked for at least 10 hours per week (or no less than one hour every week with no less than 40 hours in every month) for the same employer during the 6 or 12 months preceding the expected date of delivery or adoption of a child       /      

You have been self-employed for at least 6 or 12 months at the due date of birth or adoption and you’ve worked an average of at least 10 hours per week, during this qualifying period        /        

If you resign or cease self-employment while on PPL, or a fixed-term contract ends, your entitlement will cease         /        


I have already applied for Paid Parental Leave (PPL) but my baby has been born early, what should I do?
If you have already applied for PPL but your baby is born earlier than expected then you will need to call Inland Revenue and let them know that your baby has been born early, giving them the birth date. They will then adjust your payments to start from that date instead of the expected due date.

NB. If you baby has been born premature (before the 37th week of pregnancy) then you will also qualify for additional payments. You will need to provide proof of the baby’s birth date to ensure you receive the additional payments. 

I haven’t applied for PPL yet but my baby has been born early, what should I do?
If you haven’t applied and your baby is born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy) then you will need to complete the application form and include both the estimated due date certificate from your midwife as well as the actual birth date. This will show how many weeks early your baby was born.  The application form needs to be sent to Inland Revenue for processing.

If your baby is born between the 37th and 39th weeks of pregnancy you won’t qualify for additional payments.
How many additional payments could I receive?
A maximum of 13 additional weeks of payments are available to parents whose babies are born prematurely (prior to the 37th week of pregnancy). Once you reach what would have been the 37th week of pregnancy your standard PPL payments will begin.  

What are Keeping in Touch hours?
Keeping in touch hours are designed assist new parents or carers complete those small jobs they may not have had a chance to do before going on parental leave. This might be completing a hand over to your cover, attending an essential training course or attending an important meeting. 

In your standard parental leave period you can complete up to 40 hours of paid work without your entitlements being affected. These hours can’t be taken until after the first four weeks. 

If your baby is born prematurely then you would be entitled to additional keeping in touch hours.   

I’m not the birth parent but I am taking full-time care of the child, am I eligible?
Yes, under the new legislation people who take full-time permanent responsibility for the care, development and upbringing of a baby or child under six, and meet the work requirements, are eligible for payments as they need time and support to adjust to their new roles too. 


 ***** Here’s an overview of who qualifies for PPL before and after 1 April 2016.  Care arrangements qualifying for PPL *****
Up to 31 March 2016  /  

Expectant mothers (your baby is expected and born up to 31 March 2016)       /       
Spouse or partner (if the mother transfers part or all of her entitlement to you)       /        
Adoptive parents (taking care of a child under six with a view to adoption)        /        

How do I apply? 
You need to complete the new application form. This form is available to download from the Inland Revenue website. This form is for both employed and self-employed people. If you are thinking of transferring some or all of your parental leave to your partner or spouse, there is a transfer form to be completed. 

Additional information
To find out more about paid parental leave payments or to apply, visit: www.ird.govt.nz/paid-parental-leave