Surrogates and intended parents both entitled to paid parental leave
Ryken and Associates has confirmed with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Inland Revenue (IRD) that both surrogates and intended parents are eligible for paid parental leave, where they meet the standard eligibility criteria.
MBIE and IRD have confirmed that the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 does not distinguish over what duration a surrogate and/or adoptive parents are deserving to receive paid parental leave. Rather, in situations where the birth mother and child are separated, such as a surrogacy, both the birth mother and the new primary caregiver are fully entitled to paid parental leave up (if they meet all other criteria) up to 22 weeks. This approach reflects the intent of the scheme to support both the birth mother and the child (and the child’s bonding period with parents).
This means that where intending parents take over the primary caregiver role post-birth with a view to adopting a child born to a surrogacy agreement, they will be eligible for paid parental leave, assuming they meet standard eligibility criteria. It also means that the surrogate would be similarly entitled to paid parental leave. That is, both the surrogate and the primary caregiver of the intended adoptive parents are eligible for paid parental leave.
Paid parental leave is one aspect of parental leave. There are a number of other types of leave available, most notably extended leave, which provides up to one year of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for a child. In adoption or surrogacy situations, this type of leave would typically be available to the adoptive parent since they will be the primary carer and the surrogate would usually only take paid parental leave.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss your entitlement to paid parental leave or any other aspect of domestic or international surrogacy.