Diverse parental leave options

Parental Leave Permutations

The entitlements under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 are not easily summarised.

The best summary I have seen is this table issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Yet, you almost need a degree to interpret it. However, that’s not the fault of the Ministry – it is a complicated piece of legislation.

There are numerous variations on entitlements under the Act.

If you are looking to take time off work to care for a new family member, it is well worth your while getting your head around what the possibilities are for you. But you will need to sit down with a cuppa and think through your options.


Why does it have to be so complicated?

Well, the Act attempts to cover all sorts of possible family scenarios in which people seek time off work.

Variations on entitlements under the Act depend on whether you:

  • have been employed for six months or 12 months;
  • wish to share your leave entitlements and payments with your partner;
  • are giving birth or adopting; or
  • are employed or self-employed.

All the above factors matter and give rise to a number of permutations. But that’s not all…


Though we talk about “parental leave” in a broad way in connection with the time you take off when welcoming a child to your family, there are actually four types of leave under the Act.

These are:


On top of this, the Act specifies when and what you get paid for taking some or all of the above leave.

That may be the most important aspect for you and your family when considering your parental leave entitlements. Getting time off work without fear of losing your job is great, but having some funds to put food on the table and pay the mortgage is even better.

This payment is not paid by your employer, but by the Government. The present maximum amount you can be paid is 18 weeks at the maximum rate of $516.85 per week.

In some circumstances you can transfer the payments to your partner, provided that they meet the minimum working thresholds.


The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act provides a range of benefits to support growing families in all their diverse combinations.

Yet, it’s not always easy to understand what you are entitled to under the Act because the variations it provides for are numerous.

It pays to have a good read of the available resources and work out your entitlements ahead of time so that you can reap the benefits of spending quality time with your new bundle of joy.

If you are about to have a child, do you understand your options under the Act?

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