Parental leave options explained

The Southland Times 18 April 2009

OPINION There still seems to still be confusion around who is entitled to what when it comes to parental leave, writes Mary-Jane Thomas in this week’s Work to Rule. Here goes my attempt to make things simple.
Maternity leave: an expectant mother who has worked for the same employer for six months or more (averaging at least 10 hours a week) is entitled to 14 weeks’ paid leave. The leave is paid for by the Government. The amount paid is either the employee’s normal weekly pay or $325 a week, whichever is the lesser. If she has been working 12 months or more, she is also entitled to a further 8.5 months extended unpaid leave (to make the total time off one year).
Paternal/partner’s leave: the father or partner may also be entitled to two weeks’ unpaid leave. Again, they must have been working for the employer one year at least 10 hours a week. Generally, paternal leave is to be taken within three weeks either side of the due date, unless the parties agree otherwise. It must be taken in a continuous two-week period.
Sharing leave: if both partners are entitled to leave, the mother may transfer some or all of her extended leave to her partner. The couple can take their leave at the same time or different times, but they must take it within a year of the child’s birth (except by agreement).