Are you eligible for Paid Parental Leave?

Taking on the permanent care of a child under six? Find out about how you could get paid while on parental leave for up to 18 weeks:

If you take on the permanent primary care of a child under six, and take leave from employment to do it, you are eligible for Paid Parental Leave (PPL).

This entitlement used to only apply to birth and adoptive parents. But, changes to legislation – introduced on 1 April, 2016 – added:

  • Oranga Tamariki (formerly CYF) Home for Life permanency parents
  • whāngai parents
  • grandparents with full-time care, and
  • other permanent guardians.

This means all permanent caregivers are treated now have the same access to.

What is Paid Parental Leave?

Paid parental Leave is a government-funded entitlement paid to eligible mothers and other primary carers, such as adoptive parents, Oranga Tamariki (formerly Child, Youth and Family) Home for Life permanency parents, whāngai, grandparents with full-time care, and other permanent guardians.

These payments go towards the loss of income when you take parental leave or stop working to care for:

  • your newborn baby, or,
  • a child under the age of six who is now in your care.

How much will I get?

PPL payments equal your normal pay up to a current maximum of $527.72 a week before tax. You’ll receive the average of your highest 26 of the last 52 weeks of earnings up to the date the child arrives in your care.

What if I’m self-employed?

PPL payments equal your average weekly earnings up to a current maximum of $527.72 a week before tax. The minimum payment is $152.50 each week before tax. If you earn less than this, or make a loss, this is what you’ll receive. It’s equivalent to 10 hours each week at the current minimum wage rate.

How long can I receive payments?

You can receive PPL payments for a maximum of 18 weeks.

What paperwork do I need?

Find out more about the process here.

The documents that need to be included are listed in the checklist part of the IR880 form:

  • A certified copy of  court order placing the child in your care
  • Or  letter from the Ministry of Social Development or your social worker or Oranga Tamariki confirming the care arrangement
  • Or if you don’t have either of them
  • A statutory declaration IR880D  that the child is in your care signed by a Justice of the Peace.
  • If you have any other documents showing that you have primary carer of the child it is beneficial to send them with the IR880 Paid Parental Leave Form.

The caregiver has from the date they take the child on until the child’s 6th birthday to apply for parental leave. However if you have primary care of the child and you go back to work after you assumed care before you start the parental leave payments you may be forfeiting there payments. Section 71L states that parental leave ends when an employee or self-employment person returns to work.  

Paid Parental Leave is NOT income tested – so it will not impact on the payment of Unsupported Child Benefit.

Contact the free phone number on 0800 20 90 20 (option 2) and talk with trained staff about the entitlements you could receive as part of this scheme.

You can also go to and find a lot of this information broken down including example of scenarios that may apply to your situation.

Caregivers need to provide their employer with at least 14 days’ notice in writing that you intend to take parental leave, provided evidence that you will be the primary carer and state how long you plan on taking off, when you plan on returning and if you want the employer to hold your job open if it is not a key position under section 31.

You can find templates on what to write in the written notice here.


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