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Parental leave

Resolving problems about parental leave

What if I have a dispute with my employer about parental leave?

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, ss 70A & 70B

If you and your employer can’t agree on a parental leave issue, a government labour inspector can:

  • decide whether you qualify for parental leave, or
  • decide your ordinary or average weekly income, and
  • enforce parental leave payments.

The labour inspector can also give your employer a “demand notice”, if the inspector is satisfied that you’re entitled to parental leave and that your employer isn’t prepared to acknowledge this. The employer must comply with this notice; if they don’t, you can enforce it by going to the Employment Relations Authority.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act, s 70G

The labour inspector can also do all of those things for self-employed people.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, ss 55–70

Complaints by employees relating to parental leave are dealt with by the Employment Relations Authority in a way similar to personal grievances (see the chapter “Resolving employment problems”).

Next Section | Flexible working

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Employment conditions and protections

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and, depending on your situation, may also be able to provide ongoing support.

“Pregnancy Rights: Your legal options during and after pregnancy” (booklet)

This booklet contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law, and includes information on sexual health and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, healthcare, education, housing and more.

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Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


Free phone 0800 20 90 20, for general enquiries about employment relations, pay and holidays.

The Employment website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment publishes a range of publications on employment relations and minimum rights at work.

Labour inspectors

Labour inspectors monitor and enforce minimum employment conditions. To refer a problem to a labour inspector, you contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment on:

Free phone 0800 20 90 20

Worksafe New Zealand, Mahi Haumaru Aotearoa


Free phone: 0800 030 040

Worksafe New Zealand’s website has a range of information and publications on workplace health and safety issues.

Parental leave payments


The Inland Revenue website has information on parental leave payments.

Whistle-blowing (“Protected disclosures” by employees)


Free phone: 0800 802 602
Email: info@ombudsman.parliament.nz

The Office of the Ombudsman provides information and guidance to employees about making a protected disclosure.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi


Phone: (04) 385 1334
Email: info@nzctu.org.nz

The NZCTU is the umbrella body for affiliated unions covering every job and industry in New Zealand. It can provide information about which union may cover the type of work you do.

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