A law change means new rules for parental leave from June 2017. Changes include when a new parent can take parental leave payments, and what happens if a baby is born prematurely.

New leave rules

When: 1 June 2017.

What: Parents who want to get parental leave payments can choose to first use other types of paid leave they’re entitled to, eg:

  • annual leave

  • alternative days

  • special leave

  • time off in lieu.

They can choose to start their 18-week parental leave payment period once they have taken other types of paid leave — even if this is after the child’s arrival.

Previously the parental leave payment period couldn’t start later than the child’s arrival.

Premature babies

When: 1 June 2017.

What: If a working parent is applying for or getting parental leave payments and their baby arrives before the end of 36 weeks’ pregnancy, they can get:

  • preterm baby payments for up to 13 weeks

  • parental leave payments when they go back on parental leave — if it’s no later than the original expected due date.

If they go back to work for a period between the preterm baby being born and the original expected due date of the baby — other than for their keeping in touch hours — they will lose any remaining entitlement to preterm payments.

But they’ll still be entitled to up to 18 weeks’ parental leave payments — or however many weeks are remaining — if they’ve stopped work before the original expected due date and if the baby hadn’t been born prematurely.

For more information on parental leave, go to the Employment New Zealand website.