Parental leave

Learn more about parental leave. Parental leave covers four types of leave. It applies to a birth mother, their partner/spouse and people who adopt a child aged under six.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • All school staff
  • Boards

Further information on parental leave can be found in a staff member’s employment agreement, the terms of which must be adhered to.

Current legislation

Parental leave is granted by the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Types of parental leave

Parental leave covers 4 types of leave.

  1. Primary carer leave: The primary carer can get up to 26 weeks off work from around the time of birth or from the time you start caring for an adopted child.
  2. Partner's leave: If your partner has had a baby or you've adopted a child together, you can have up to 2 weeks off.
  3. Extended leave: You may be able to extend your primary carer leave up to 52 weeks.
  4. Special leave: While you’re pregnant, you can have up to 10 days’ pregnancy-related leave.

Apply for parental leave

You need to apply to your school before taking parental leave. The usual notice required is 3 months but this can be reduced in some circumstances, for example, where an adoption is arranged in a short time.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website explains how to apply for parental leave.

Parental leave – MBIE(external link)

Parental leave payment

If you qualify for the parental leave payment, it’s paid through Inland Revenue. You therefore need to apply for this payment and your school must confirm that you’re entitled to parental leave.

The MBIE website explains how to apply for parental leave payments.

Parental leave – MBIE(external link)

If you work part time, the MBIE website also explains how to work out your parental leave payment.

Parental leave – MBIE(external link)

Parental grant

Primary carers (principals and teachers) who have had a baby or adopted a child can apply for a parental grant.

You can only get the grant if you’ve been approved for maternity leave or have resigned because of the pregnancy or adoption.

Your school will apply for the grant for you through Education Payroll (EdPay). Your employment agreement has more information about the grant.

Parental leave – Education Payroll(external link)

Parental leave in your employment agreement

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 sets out the minimum parental leave entitlements.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 – NZ Legislation website(external link)

Parental leave entitlements are set out in the collective agreements as follows:

Clause 7.9: Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Clause 4.5: Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Clause 5.3: Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Clause 6.3: Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Clause 5.2: Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement

If you’re an area school principal refer to Clause 5.2: Area Schools Teachers’ Collective Agreement.

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