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Paid parental leave has been available to employees since 2002. It was extended to self-employed parents in legislation that came into force on 1 July 2006.
Self-employed mothers who have been working an average of 10 hours per week during either the previous 6 or 12 months before the expected date of delivery of a child will be entitled to 14 weeks' paid parental leave. Paid parental leave is also available to a self-employed person who assumes the care of a child with a view to adoption.
A self-employed person is required to take a break from work while receiving parental leave payments, but may maintain a level of oversight of the business during the parental leave period.
Parental leave payments may be transferred by a selfemployed mother to an eligible partner who may be either an eligible employee or an eligible self-employed person. Eligible mothers who are employees may now transfer payments to eligible self-employed partners as well as employed partners.
Parental leave payments will be set at a rate equal to a self-employed person's average weekly earnings, up to a maximum consistent with that payable to an employee. The rate is set by Order in Council and is $372.12 per week for the year beginning 1 July 2006.
Self-employed persons who earn less than the minimum wage for a minimum of 10 hours per week will be entitled to parental leave payments at a flat rate equivalent to 10 hours per week at the rate of the minimum wage. That rate is $102.50 per week for the year beginning 1 July 2006.
The requirement for a further period of employment before a subsequent application for paid parental leave can be made has also been relaxed from 12 months to 6 months.
The Act provides for regulations prescribing application requirements.
The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Regulations 2006 were gazetted on 25 May 2006. An application must be accompanied by either:
Further information for self-employed persons, employers, chartered accountants and Justices of the Peace is available on the former Department of Labour, now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at https://www.mbie.govt.nz/ or by calling 0800 20 90 20 during business hours.