Returning to work - what are my options when my parental leave ends?
Notice of return
If you are intending to return to work following your parental leave, you are required to write to your employer 21 days before your leave ends and advise them of your intention to return to work.
If your employer was not able to keep your job open while you were on parental leave, you should instead tell the employer 21 days in advance the date you will be available for work. This date becomes the start of your six-month “preference” period.
Not going back to work
If you decide that you will not be returning to work when your parental leave ends, you must write to your employer and tell them this at least 21 days before your leave ends.
If you decide not to return to work during the period you are receiving the parental leave payment, your payment ceases when your employment ceases.
If you do not go back to work at the end of your parental leave, your employment will be considered to have ended on the day you started the leave, but you are not required to repay the parental leave payment.
Early return to work
You can return to work early, or start your preference period early, if your child is miscarried, is stillborn, dies, or is adopted or cared for by someone else. You should write to your employer 21 days before the date you intend to return. You may also return to work early if your employer agrees. The employer may ask for a medical certificate if you wish to return early from maternity leave.
What other assistance is available?
Working families that have children may be entitled to the parental tax credit or paid parental leave. New parents may access one, but not both, of these entitlements.
The parental tax credit is a family assistance payment administered by Inland Revenue. The number of children in a family and the family’s level of income are used to calculate whether the family is entitled to the payment, and the level of the payment.
In most cases, families will receive a higher level of payment if they apply for paid parental leave. However, parental tax credit payments may be higher where a family:
- is on a low income
- is expecting the birth of, or intends to adopt, more than one child
- wishes to take only a short period of parental leave.
You can only access one of the payments, and you need to decide which is the best for you. Inland Revenue can provide you with advice on whether paid parental leave or the parental tax credit would be best for you. Phone Inland Revenue on 0800 377 777.
More information about the parental tax credit and other family assistance payments can be found on www.ird.govt.nz or by phoning IRD on 0800 227 773.