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Parental Leave

What is parental leave?

This is unpaid statutory leave that allows parents or adopters of children time off to look after their child’s welfare.

Who is entitled to parental leave?

Employees with at least one year’s service who have, or expect to have, parental responsibility for a child born or adopted on or after 15 December 1999. Employers are entitled to ask to see evidence that the employee has parental responsibility for the child, the child’s age and, if relevant, that the child is disabled.

What does parental leave permit?

Employees are allowed to be away from work on parental leave for the purposes of caring for that child. A woman who qualifies for parental leave may take this immediately after taking maternity leave

How long does parental leave last?

Employees are entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave in aggregate in respect of each child. Multiple births mean each parent will get 18 weeks’ leave for each child, whereas part-time employees receive a pro rata entitlement.

An employee can take leave in blocks of 1 week (or blocks of one day where the child is disabled) up to a maximum of 4 weeks in respect of each child, each year.

When can parental leave be taken?

Parental leave can be taken when the relevant child is born or adopted, or as soon as the employee has 12 months’ service (whichever is the later) up until the child’s 5th birthday (or 18th birthday if the child is disabled), or the 5th anniversary since adoption (or 18th anniversary if the child is disabled).

What is the right to return to work?

After 4 weeks’ leave, employees have the right to return to the same job, but if a longer period of leave is taken then the employee is entitled to return to a similar job if the same job is not practical.

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