Being a parent can be stressful at times. You need to take care of your kid, and you cannot just chuck your responsibilities. Let's face the truth- a governess or a nanny will not be as mindful about bringing your child up as you will be when you carry out your role as a parent. Hence working under an understandable employer can really help in dealing with parenting.

Parental leave can be availed by employees who undertake the child's complete responsibility in the first six months of the birth. The policy platforms in NZ initially decided to extend the period of parental paid leaves from 22 weeks to 26 weeks during the election campaign that took place in September 2017. Apart from parental leave in NZ, there are many other privileges that an employee is entitled to. The article will include various eligibility criteria for availing parental leaves in NZ.

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill 2017:

The parental leave bill was amongst the primary pieces of legislation process that includes different amendments.

  • The parental paid leave presented a positive impact on all the parents. Further, it also reduced parenting stress and increased the household benefits for the expecting mothers.
  • The World Health Organization also focuses on breastfeeding for six months for maintaining a child's health and the public outcomes.

1. Eligible workers

A worker who works for at least 10 hours a week for more than 12 months in an organization before the child's birth or date is liable for different leaves discussed below.

  • 52 weeks or one year of unpaid parental leave
  • If an employee is the primary caretaker of the child born, he/she can avail of the government-funded parental leave payment for a period of 6 months

Employees who have worked for at least 10 hours a week for a period of six months can avail the following two types of leaves in an organization.

  • Six months of non-paid parental leave
  • If the worker is only the caretaker of the child, she is liable for a government-funded parental leave payment for a period of 26 weeks

Before availing of parental leave payments, an employee can use other paid leaves available in the leave portal. These leaves are as follows.

  1. Special leave
  2. Alternative leave
  3. Annual leave
  4. Time off in lieu

An employee can choose to utilize the parental leaves once they have availed all other leaves such as special, alternative, and annual leaves. The NZ government also ensures that if the birth mother is only the caretaker of the born child, she can take advantage of parental paid leaves irrespective of whether the child does not survive.

2. Non-Eligible Workers

The NZ government and the Parental Leave Employment Protection Amendment bills have formulated specific rules for workers who are not eligible to avail of these leave. These workers can be individuals who have not completed a period of six months or at least 10 hours in an organization. Non-eligible workers are entitled to get benefits of parental paid leaves only in the case when they clear the parental leave payment threshold test. Also, they should be the primary caretaker of the child for availing the parental leave.

How does it Work?

The process of parental leave payment is made more accessible for all the eligible employees for the leave. Parental leave can be taken by any parent or split between both the parents as long as they are suitable for the privilege. The child's primary caretaker can start the leave period 45 days before the expected delivery date, as underlined in the cases mentioned below. Contact us for more detailed information on leave payments.

  • If the employer is ready to sanction the leave 45 days prior to the expected date of the child's birth
  • Advised by a medical practitioner or midwife
  • If the employee is not capable to perform her duties successfully due to physical strain and pregnancy

Special Leave for Expecting Mothers

Apart from parental paid leaves, the expecting mothers are also allowed to take leaves for a period of 10 days. These leaves can be utilized for consulting particular physicians and taking antenatal classes before delivering the child.

Partner's leave

Fathers of the child are also liable for different leaves while employed in any organization in NZ. A father can avail of these leaves between the 21 days, starting from the date of the child's expected birth, and whenever the partner plans to take the responsibility as the primary caretaker.

  • They can take a seven-day week unpaid week off if they have completed 26 weeks or at least 10 hours in the same company
  • Further, they are eligible for a 14-day unpaid leave proposal if they have served 12 months or at least 10 hours in the same organization

All workers can work up to 52 hours for the company, both on paid and non-paid parental leave. Partner's leave can be availed if employer and employees both agree to the settlement. It is the employees' responsibility to inform their respective employers at least 21 days before the end of their parental leave period.

The Latest Amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Law

The NZ government has been working proactively to ensure the economic and social well-being of its citizens. Hence, it has taken some essential steps to implement the same seamlessly.

The new law aims to extend the duration of the parental leave payments over a period of 3 years. The objective is to implement the same over a couple of stages.

  1. An increase from 18 weeks to 22 weeks from July 1, 2018
  2. A further increase from 22 weeks to 26 weeks from July 1, 2020

This extension has been done to reduce the financial stress and support working families with newborns and young children. Not only the caring parents can avail additional unpaid leave to bond with their newborn and young children, but it will also facilitate exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months according to the latest directives issued by the World Health Organization.

What Is the 'Keeping in Touch' Period?

The Keeping in Touch period is the one that allows the parents to be involved in a limited amount of workplace responsibilities while they are on parental leave. But it is totally dependent on their willingness. If the parents choose to, they can attend a change announcement or some important client meetings while on parental leave.

The new law has also proportionately increased the Keeping in Touch period.

  • It has increased from 40 hours to 52 hours since July 1, 2018
  • Keeping in Touch period has subsequently increased from 52 hours to 64 hours since July 1, 2020

Are you confused regarding the NZ government's motive behind this amendment? Well, this amendment aims to help working parents maintain their contact with their employers and stay informed about the activities going on at the workplace. They can also stay updated regarding any critical change at the workplace, even if they are away for an extended period. The fundamental objective of this amendment is to help employees maintain a seamless connection with their employers.

If you are still confused regarding these amendments and whether you and your partner are eligible to avail of these, you can reach out to our experts. They will guide you and give you proper counsel.

End Note

To avail of different financial benefits and gather more information about paid parental leave applications, Book a consultation. Our experts will be happy to assist you.