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Parental Leave Requests From Staff - What To Do

Published 01 Jun 2010

If you have received a request for parental leave here are three things to do to get started.

1. Find out what your employee is eligible for:

The Department of Labour's online calculator can help you determine if your employee is entitled to take parental leave and receive government funded parental leave payments.

The maximum rate of payment for government funded parental leave is adjusted on 1 July each year. On 1 July 2010, the maximum payment will increase from $429.74 to $441.62 per week (gross).This means that employees will be entitled to either their gross weekly rate of pay or $441.62, whichever is lower.

Employees must apply to Inland Revenue for payments and to their employer for the leave.

2. Respond appropriately to requests:

As an employer you are required to reply to your employees parental leave request in writing and your response should cover:
  • Whether the employee is entitled to take parental leave, and if not, the reasons why not
  • The main legal rights and obligations they have, especially those relating to when they can start their leave
  • Whether the job can be kept open or not. Please note that it is only in exceptional circumstances that the role does not have to be held open, and you will need to take advice about this before notifying the employee.
Templates for responding to an employees request

3. Understand how parental leave affects other leave entitlements

Employment is treated as continuous during the period of parental leave.

Annual holidays and sick leave continue to accrue while an employee is on parental leave. If an employee becomes entitled to annual holidays while on parental leave or during the 12 month period after they return, special rules apply.

The payment rate that attaches to this entitlement will be at the employee's average weekly earnings for the 12 months before the annual holiday is taken. The average weekly earnings calculation would not be compared to the ordinary weekly pay as would normally occur. Find out more about accrual of annual holidays during a period of parental leave.

No special rules apply to sick leave that is accrued while an employee is on parental leave.

Get more information on parental leave - see our eBook on Parental Leave (free to Employer Support Package members).