Parental leave and childcare

Payments for primary carers

There are two main government funded entitlements for primary carers; paid parental leave and the parental tax credit.

For information on these payments and to work out which one you might be entitled to you, read Inland Revenue’s guide Congratulations on your new baby.  You can contact Inland Revenue on 0800 377 777.

Parental leave for new parents in paid work

If you are in paid work and want to take parental leave from that work to care for a new child, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website contains information about the rights and obligations of employees, employers and self-employed people in respect of parental leave. It contains information on:

  • the current parental leave entitlements, (that is maternity leave, special leave, partner/ paternity leave, extended leave, and paid parental leave)
  • eligibility for paid parental leave for birth mothers, their partners (if transferred), as well as carers. It is now extended to 18 weeks from 1 April 2016.
  • your parental leave entitlement
  • forms and sample letters to use to apply for  parental leavehow to contact MBIE for assistance on 0800 20 90 20
  • how to apply to Inland Revenue for paid parental leave payments.


Childcare, encompassing both out of school care (OSCAR), and early childhood education (ECE), is a key enabler of women’s participation in the labour market.

ECE is important both for children’s education outcomes and as an enabler of mothers’ participation in work. ECE helps to ensure an adequate net return from paid employment, and is important for women’s economic independence.

In 2012 the Ministry commissioned a selective review of the evidence about the labour participation of mothers in response to changes in early childhood costs. This found a general consensus that labour force participation among mothers of pre-school children is sensitive to childcare costs.