Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Act 2014
Budget 2014 legislation increases paid parental leave from 14 to 16 weeks from 1 April 2015, and to 18 weeks from 1 April 2016.
The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Act 2014 amends the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is responsible for these Acts. Inland Revenue supports the administration of the paid parental leave provisions.
Women currently receive up to 14 weeks of taxpayer-funded paid parental leave. To qualify, they must have worked regularly for the same employer, or have been self-employed, for an average of 10 hours a week for at least the previous six months. Parental leave payments can be transferred to a spouse or partner.
Paid parental leave replaces the employee's earnings up to a maximum payment. The maximum weekly payment is adjusted each year to reflect increases in the average wage.
Paid parental leave can also be claimed when a person or couple adopts a child under six.
In Budget 2014, the Government announced that the period of paid parental leave will increase from 14 to 16 weeks from 1 April 2015 and then to 18 weeks from 1 April 2016.
The 16 or 18 weeks of paid parental leave will apply to an employee or self-employed person who takes paid parental leave in respect of a child if:
- The expected date of delivery of the child is on or after 1 April 2015 or 1 April 2016 respectively.
- The child is actually born on or after 1 April 2015 or 1 April 2016 respectively.
- For adopted children, if the date on which the person assumed care of the child is on or after 1 April 2015 or 1 April 2016 respectively.
Other changes to increase the flexibility and change the eligibility for the paid parental leave were also announced as part of Budget 2014. The details of these changes are currently being considered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and will be finalised after public consultation.