We can only dream of the German, 1 year "parental leave" here in New Zealand. After the birth of my first child, I started working again after a baby break of 4 months. In Germany it would certainly be unusual to work again so early. In New Zealand it is quite normal. Fortunately, I work from home and only 3 days a week. My company is also very accommodating when it comes to working hours and I can freely organize my time (24 hours a week). I then stayed with my daughter for 7 months before I went back to work. The children now go to “Daycare” (kindergarten / daycare) 4 hours a day. The rest of the time they are with Markus and me. Markus is self-employed and we divide up our work so that it works with the children. Really great.
There are in New Zealand for employed and self-employed mothers (or fathers or "primary carers") 18 weeks of paid maternity leave ("Paid Parental Leave"). You have to take these 18 weeks in one piece, but you can freely choose when you want to take them. It is practically common to work here until birth – I simply took all my normal vacation days before giving birth. In principle, the money for paid parental leave is supposed to replace income, but is capped at around $ 500 per week (gross). In addition, as a pregnant woman you still have the right to 10 days unpaid special leave for appointments with the midwife or ultrasound appointments.
After 18 weeks you don’t necessarily have to go back to work immediately. Anyone who has worked in the same company for at least 12 months before the child is born (12 month criteria) can leave the company for up to one year and the job must be kept open. State money gets but only for the 18 weeks of paid parental leave. Of course there are 1000 special regulations on this topic. You can read them on the Employment New Zealand website or on this overview sheet.
When it comes to childcare, it has to be said very clearly that we will of course lack grandparents in New Zealand. They just live in Germany. Here we try to team up with other emigrants who are in the same situation.
In New Zealand there are many daycare centers that take babies from 6 weeks old. But most children are much older when they go to daycare. Here in Gisborne, childcare costs around $ 6 an hour. I assume that this is more expensive in larger cities. From the 3rd year of life there is free kindergarten sponsored by the state for all children 20 hours a week. From 5 years the children go to school from 9 am to 3 pm.
Compared to the German parental allowance, the 18 weeks of maternity leave here are very poor, but there are still many more children in New Zealand than in Germany (2.15 children per woman in New Zealand and 1.39 children per woman in Germany). I think that’s because as a woman in New Zealand you don’t get as many stones in your way. In Germany it is almost impossible for a woman in her 30s without children to find a job, because hardly any employer may want to get involved with an employee will have children soon. That was even said in my face in Germany. Things are different here in New Zealand: until a few months ago, in my company with over 100 employees, I was the only woman over 30 without children. When I look around in the circle of acquaintances, New Zealand employers seem to be more relaxed about the topic and many women can adjust their working hours to their children.
Maternity leave and parental allowance in New Zealand
As a mother in New Zealand you can do what you think is right: stay at home or go back to work after a few weeks – both are socially totally accepted. In Germany, society declares you either a raven mother or a housemother – depending on whether you go back to work or not.
In addition, kiwis are generally not as afraid of the future as the Germans. This is not only due to wealth but also to the mentality. In addition, the labor market here in New Zealand is not as rigid as in Germany and children are not seen by employers as “private pleasure”. As I said: this is my impression. There may be exceptions in both countries.
But New Zealand is also very child and family friendly. Markus and I, for example, were able to suspend payments for our house loan for 3 months after the birth of our son – this is how the bank advertises on its website. In Auckland, entry for an adult to the swimming pool is $ 7, for an adult + two small children only $ 5. Many shops have a children’s corner and in cafes and restaurants you are not looked at wrong when the child screams. In the men’s toilets in the shopping malls there are changing tables and in shopping centers there is usually also a free crèche so that you as an adult can spend money undisturbed. And when I am out and about in town with the little one there is a friendly smile everywhere, people ask me how old he is, etc.
There is no flat-rate child benefit like in Germany in New Zealand. But there are working for families tax credits. Unfortunately I don’t know exactly how this works, but as far as I know it is a financial relief for low-wage earners who are after the income directed.
Birth, child benefit and parental benefit Welcome to the country of bureaucracy! Administrative act 3: at the health insurance company It is pretty quick there, even though the…
Part-time – mini-job – additional earnings – partnership bonus More flexibility and fairness thanks to ElterngeldPlus: Since July 1st, 2015, parents can…
German parents’ entitlement abroad In principle, parents who have German citizenship and live in Germany have a claim…
Unlike an au pair or a nanny, the child minders usually look after several children from different families and at home. Grandma too…