top of page

Parental Leave like a Pro: Tips for Smooth Transition from Work to Parenthood

So you’re about to welcome a new addition to the family… now what?!

Parental leave can be an exciting, yet overwhelming time for parents to be. On the one hand, you get to start a new chapter and meet your little one. On the other hand, you’re leaving behind your job and the stability of a steady income.

We’ve compiled a list of tips and advice to help you feel prepared. From knowing your entitlements, organising childcare, and sorting through the necessary paperwork, we hope your journey into parenthood is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Tip #1: Understand your Entitlements

There are a few options available for employees in NZ, so it’s helpful to understand what you’re entitled to according to NZ legislation so you can start thinking about what might work for you.

If you have worked for a company for a minimum of 10 hours per week for 12 months, you are entitled to:

  • 26 weeks of parental leave, inclusive of 26 weeks of government-funded payments

  • 26 weeks of extended leave

Therefore, you may decide that you would like to take the maximum leave, which would be 52 weeks.

If you have worked for a company for a minimum of 10 hours per week for 6 months, you are entitled to:

  • 26 weeks of parental leave, inclusive of government-funded payments

In addition to what is statutory, read through your employment agreement. Some employers may offer parental leave benefits above what is statutory.

Tip #2: Consider your finances

Whatever you decide to do in terms of leave, we recommend organising your finances and considering your salary, outgoing expenses (groceries, rent, mortgage, etc), and government-funded payments.

You don’t need a detailed spreadsheet to the dollar, but there are some fantastic (and free!) resources out there that can help keep you on track to minimise any anxiety around money.

Tip #3: Chat with your Employer

Once you’ve decided what type of leave you want to take, discuss your plans with your employer so that you’re both on the same page.

At the very minimum, you must give your employer three months' notice before you intend to go on parental leave.

Following your discussion, you need to notify your employer or HR department with the following information:

  • Your expected due date

  • The type of leave you are taking (i.e. parental leave, extended leave)

  • Parental leave start date

  • The total amount of leave you are taking (no more than 52 weeks, unless otherwise agreed with your employer)

Tip #4: Sorting your paperwork

If you are entitled to government-funded parental leave, you will need to ensure you apply for these payments through IRD. You can apply here.

Tip #5: Keeping in touch

Before you’re wrapped up in your new baby, consider how you will stay in touch with your Employer during your parental leave. You could set up a monthly coffee catch-up, and go along to any all-hands meeting and/or activities.

“Keeping in touch” days can be another great way to stay in the loop and ease your way back into work. Keep in mind this is at the discretion of your employer and must meet the following criteria:

  • You only do a total of 64 hours or less during your parental leave period, and

  • This isn’t within the first 28 days after your child is born.

Tip #6: Think about your return to work and Flexible working arrangements

Although it’s difficult to think 12 months in advance, it’s worth chatting with your employer before going on parental leave about potential flexible working options on your return.

There are several options that you can consider, such as moving to a part-time working week (either temporarily or permanently) or changing your start/finish hours to work around childcare.

We recommend following these conversations up in writing so you have a record of your discussions and any agreements that may have been made.

Tip #7: Childcare

Start researching potential childcare options. Although it may seem far too early, if you’re considering daycare or similar, often there can be a long waitlist so it pays to get in as soon as possible.

If daycare isn’t for you, you may like to reach out to your friends and family and how they might be able to support you with childcare, pick-ups, or drop-offs.

Tip #8: Take care of YOU

The most important tip of all, take care of your health and well-being as you embark on parenthood.

While it can be daunting at the start of your journey, it’s worth planning ahead of time to get all your ducks in a row. We hope these tips help assist you for a smooth transition from work into parenthood, so when the time comes, you’re able to focus all of your time and energy one you little one!

If you need any further help or support, you can always reach out to our People Ninjas team by clicking here.


bottom of page