ANZ - the country's largest bank - is to increase paid parental leave for its employees from 18 to 26 weeks from July - two years ahead of the Government's law change.
The Government passed a law change last year to increase parental leave from 18 to 22 weeks from July this year and to 26 weeks from July 2020.
But ANZ, which has 8000 employees of which 240 take paid parental leave every year, will move earlier.
ANZ chief executive David Hisco said it made the change because it wanted staff to feel supported so they could give their children the best start in life.
"I'm a dad and remember those sleepless nights with my boys and wife Debs. When our first baby, James, was born I remember thinking I'd have my work cut out for me! Then when Tom came along, I knew it would be all hands on deck.
"I know those first months are important – they grow and develop so quickly – so I want our staff to feel they can choose to spend time at home if they wish, with less financial strain."
Chloe Taylor-Dykman, a 26-year-old insurance claims administrator at ANZ, who is expecting her first child in July, described the changes as "amazing".
"My husband and I bought our first house three years ago and between mortgage payments and a new baby, I thought I could take only nine months off."
But Taylor-Dykman said the extra leave meant she would now be able to spend 12 months at home.
"It'll be way less pressure."
The bank also gives primary caregivers their full ANZ salary after the birth or adoption of a child and employees can also take two weeks of paid family leave.
Jason Walker, chief executive of Hays New Zealand said he would not be surprised if other major corporates followed in the footsteps of ANZ, especially if they found they began losing staff to the bank.
He was not aware of any other company which currently offered 26 weeks.
"It is not common right now."
Typically New Zealand employers followed what was in employment law and most would not change until the law changed in 2020, he said.
However, Walker said the ANZ move would differentiate the company in the market and in banking, and make it attractive to professionals where both parents were likely to work.
"It's a pretty solid move. I will be interested to see if other large corporates follow suit."
Walker said he expected the change at ANZ to be an agenda point at executive level if an employer began losing quality staff to the bank.