With the impending birth of my second child, and knowing that our household is going to be taking a hit financially for a while when I’m off work, I’ve been investigating what financial support is out there for families, not just when it comes to maternity/parental leave but across the board, because let’s face it, kids are expensive! Other than a mortgage they are probably the next biggest (although some might argue the biggest) financial commitment that we make in our lives. It can all be a bit daunting trying to figure out what you might be entitled to so I thought I’d share the results of my investing with you.
When you’ve just had a baby
Paid Parental Leave
For eligible primary caregivers the government offers paid parental leave. Over last few years this has gone up from 14 weeks to 18 weeks as of 1 April 2016, with the maximum weekly rate being $516.85 before tax per week. The amount that gets paid varies depending on your pre-parental leave work situation.
Employment New Zealand have a great table on their website that outlines what your family might be eligible for based on different work situations. You can also get more info from their website and also from the IRD.
To apply for this leave you just need to fill out the Paid parental leave (PPL) application form and send to the IRD. You can apply for this prior to the baby’s birth or after the baby has been born (up until their first birthday).
If you’ve had a multiple birth or have adopted three or more children you may qualify for home help
When you have kids
Working for Families Tax Credits
There are four different types of working for families tax credits;
- Family Tax Credit – for families with dependent children
- In-work Tax Credit – for families with dependent children who work the required hours each week
- Minimum Family Tax Credit – tops up the annual income (after tax) of a family with dependant children to $23,764
- Parental Tax CRedit – available for families with a new-born baby who don’t receive paid parental leave or a Work and Income benefit
More information is available from the IRD and there is a great calculator on the IRD website that helps you work out what you might be entitled to. To complete it you’ll just need to know the details of dependent children who live with you, an estimate of your family income for the dear and details of any child support you receive or are required to pay for the year. To apply you can do either by completing a manual form and sending it to the IRD or you can do it online
For those who qualify work and income can pay for up to 50 hours of child care depending on your circumstances. They may also be able to help with before school / afterschool or holiday programmes and child care outside of normal hours.
20 hours a week
If you have a child aged three or over who is either in childcare/pre-school or you are wanting to get them started, you’re eligible for up to 20 hours per week of subsidised early childhood education via the Ministry of Education. It’s a common myth that this is 20 FREE hours but it’s important to note that it is 20 subsidised hours so you may need to contribute something yourself as well. This is not means tested and is available to all eligible children at participating early childhood centres.