Extending paid parental leave

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill was passed to extend the duration of paid parental leave to 26 weeks by 2020.

The new law will increase the duration of parental leave payments over 3 years and 2 stages:

  • an increase from 18 to 22 weeks from 1 July 2018
  • a further increase to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.

The extension aims to support working families with newborns and young children and help reduce financial stress.

It will allow carers who are unable to take additional unpaid leave more time for bonding with their children. It will also help facilitate exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Keeping in Touch extended

The new law also proportionately increases the number of Keeping in Touch days:

  • from 40 to 52 hours from 1 July 2018
  • to 64 hours from 1 July 2020.

Keeping in Touch days allow parents to do limited work while on parental leave, if they choose to, for example to attend a team day or change announcement.

This will help support workers who may be away from their workplace for a longer period to still maintain contact with their employer and keep abreast of any changes. It will helps the employer to continue to be connected with their employee.

More information

Our employment website has the most up-to-date information about parental leave(external link), including eligibility, payments and returning to work.

Paid Parental Leave Questions and answers [PDF, 137 KB]

Minister’s press release on the Beehive website(external link)

Extending Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks Cabinet Paper [PDF, 310 KB]

Explaining the differences between the costs in the Cabinet paper and the final figures [PDF, 68 KB]