There are two different kinds of parental leave and entitlements.
The first kind of leave is what you may be eligible for in law, and includes 22 weeks paid parental leave and 12 months leave from work.
IRD administers this leave. You can find out more at www.ird.govt.nz/topics/paid-parental-leave
You may also be eligible for Best Start. The Best Start tax credits provide extra support of $60 a week to families for a child's first three years. Best Start is not income-tested in the child’s first year. Best Start begins when paid parental leave finishes.
The second is what you may be entitled to in your collective agreement.
You are eligible for collective agreement entitlements if
- you are a teacher appointed to a full-time or part-time permanent positions, or
- you are a teacher appointed to a long-term relieving or fixed-term full-time role, and
- you are the primary carer of the child.
Primary carer means:
The biological mother of the child, or their spouse or partner, where they take primary responsibility for the care, development, and upbringing of the child.
In the case of adoption, whāngai or Home for Life placement, the person who takes permanent primary responsibility for the care development and upbringing of the child.
You can begin your parental leave at any time during pregnancy, so long as you give your employer a months’ notice, supported by a medical certificate.
A primary carer can take up to 12 months unpaid leave from the date of birth.
In the case of adoption, whāngai or Home for Life placement of a child under the age of six years the 12 months leave begins the date the teacher becomes the primary carer.
If you have more than 12 months service, you can take another 12 months parental leave. You need to let your employer know within 9 months of starting your parental leave.
You can also go back to work before your leave expires; just let your employer know a month in advance.
A grant equal to six weeks’ salary is payable to the primary carer.
To apply for the parental grant, you need to provide your school with a NOVO 27 form (available at novopay.govt.nz) and a birth certificate or evidence of placement.
If you are unwell during pregnancy, you can take sick leave.
Leave to attend partner at birth of child
Partners can take two days’ paid leave to attend their partner at the birth of their child.
Membership of PPTA
You will be a non-paying member of PPTA while you are on parental leave. Please notify PPTA firstname.lastname@example.org of the dates you are on leave.
Service for salary purposes
Even though you are not at work, you will still accrue one third service. Use the Novo19t form (available at novopay.govt.nz) to apply for the service credit.
Return from a period of childcare
A teacher who has resigned from their position to care for pre-school children and not more than four years have elapsed since they resigned, who applies for a suitable position of equal or lower status, will get that job.
The fine print
Parental leave and fixed term or long term relievers
A fixed term or long term relieving teacher cannot take parental leave once their position has ended.
You need to be actually on leave from a current position to qualify for parental leave and the leave will only last as long as the role.
The parental grant and fixed term or long term relievers
A fixed term or relieving teacher cannot get the six week parental grant once their position has ended.
A teacher is eligible for the parental grant if they are on parental leave from a fixed term or relieving position that has not ended.
A teacher is also eligible for the parental grant if they resign from the fixed term or long term relieving position for reasons of pregnancy.
Relief teaching while you are on parental leave
You are entitled to undertake relief teaching while you are on leave.
PPTA advises you talk to your school if you are considering doing relief teaching while you are on parental leave.
Parental leave protects your job while you are the primary care giver for a child and members must be careful not to jeopardise that entitlement. For example, if you accept a long term relieving role at a different school, you run the risk of your employing school saying that you are no longer on leave and have terminated your employment by accepting employment elsewhere.