Parental leave: Guidelines to your employment rights

New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) guidance for teachers on the parental leave provisions set out in the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, the Secondary Teachers 'Collective Agreement (STCA) and the Area School Teachers' Collective Agreement (ASTCA).


icon Parental leave: Guidelines to your employment rights (download advice - note this publication is being updated - there are now some additional entitlements see below:)

Rights under the Act

Parental leave is now available to a person who becomes the “primary carer” for a child under the age of 6 (“primary carer’s leave”).  A primary carer is a person who has the primary and permanent responsibility for the care, development and upbringing of that child and may include, for example, a new parent following a birth, an adoptive parent, a Home for Life parent, or a whāngai parent. 

From 1 April 2016, if you have worked for at least an average of 10 hours per week in a state or state-integrated school before you either gave birth to the child or assumed primary care for the child you will be entitled to the following parental leave provisions:

•    If you have worked these hours for more than six months then you will be entitled to 26 weeks’ parental leave under the Act, if you have worked these hours for more than a year then you are entitled to 52 weeks’ parental leave;  

Note that if you are a Group 1 teacher who has worked for more than a year in a state or state integrated school, then you are entitled to two years’ maternity leave under the collective agreements. A Group 1 teacher that has worked for less than 12 months is entitled to six months parental leave and may be entitled to an additional 6 months parental leave (at the discretion of the Board).

•    If you have worked these hours for 26 weeks in the last 52 weeks, then at least 18 weeks of this time will be paid leave – note that this employment may have been outside teaching and that there may be breaks between jobs; and

•    There are additional paid parental leave payments available for a primary carer that has a baby that is born prematurely (i.e. before 37 weeks).  A primary carer in this situation would be entitled to up to 13 extra weeks – one week extra for each week that the baby is premature.  

You are now entitled to paid parental leave whether or not you resign from your job.  You also have the right to return to your job after paid parental leave and subject to giving one month’s notice to your employer. You can return to work for “Keeping in Touch” days during your paid parental leave period without losing the payment; this is subject to agreement with the Board, may not be within the first 28 days of the birth of the child, and is for minimum of 1 hour and up to a maximum of 40 hours.  It may be useful for professional development or special events.

You are not entitled to paid parental leave if your spouse or partner has already received the full amount of paid parental leave in relation to that child.  However, you can transfer all, or share, the primary carer’s leave and paid parental leave between each other.  You can only do this if your spouse or partner also meets the working hours’ test for their same employer. 

icon Maternity grant: Guidelines to your employment rights (download advice)

Link to external website Novopay Maternity Grant form (pdf download - NOVO27)