Work Advice During Pregnancy: Parental Leave

Your entitlements for paid or unpaid parental leave in New Zealand.

First things first, if you want to take parental leave – paid or unpaid – you legally must let your employer know in writing at least three months before the due date. This letter should detail the type of leave you want to take, the date you intend to start your leave, and how long your leave will be.

Up to 26 weeks’ paid parental leave is available for primary caregivers who are caring for the baby. This leave can be taken by the birthing person or you may be able to transfer your 26 weeks of paid parental leave to your partner. To do so, your partner must be the primary carer for your pēpi and meet the eligibility criteria for parental leave.

To be eligible for paid parental leave, you have to have worked at least 10 hours per week for the same employer for six months or more before the due date of your baby. If you are self-employed you must have worked at least 10 hours a week for any 26 of the 52 weeks just before the due date of your pēpi to be eligible. You cannot be working while receiving these payments.

Those who are eligible for parental leave payments are entitled to their weekly earnings up to the maximum rate of $606.46 before tax.

If you have worked for the same employer for 12 months or more and meet the continuous work eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to up to 52 weeks’ unpaid extended leave (including up to 26 weeks of primary carer leave taken).

If your employer offers a paid parental leave scheme you are entitled to receive payments from both the government and your employer.

For further information about parental leave entitlements, visit

You can apply for paid parental leave payments through Inland Revenue.

If your baby is born premature (before the end of 36 weeks’ gestation) and you are eligible for paid parental leave payments, you may be entitled to preterm baby parental leave payments for a continuous period of up to 13 weeks.


These payments will start from the date your baby is born and will end when your baby reaches the date that would have been the end of 36 weeks of your pregnancy had your baby not been born early.


Provided you don’t return to work or stop being the primary carer of your child, your paid parental leave payments can begin from then.


You can apply for preterm baby parental leave payments through Inland Revenue.