Eligible employees can take unpaid parental leave to look after their child’s welfare, eg to:
Their employment rights (like the right to pay, holidays and returning to a job) are protected during parental leave.
Parental leave is unpaid. Employees are entitled to 18 weeks’ leave for each child and adopted child, up to their 18th birthday.
The limit on how much parental leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child (unless the employer agrees otherwise).
Employees must take parental leave as whole weeks (eg 1 week or 2 weeks) rather than individual days, unless the employer agrees otherwise or if the child is disabled. Employees don’t have to take all the leave at once.
A ‘week’ equals the length of time an employee normally works over 7 days.
If an employee works 3 days a week, one ‘week’ of parental leave equals 3 days. If an employee works irregular weeks the number of days in a ‘week’ is the total number of days they work a year divided by 52.
Parental leave applies to each child not to an individual’s job.
An employee is entitled to 18 weeks. They’ve used 10 with a previous employer. They can use up to 8 weeks with their new employer if they’re eligible.
Employees qualify if all of these apply:
Employers can ask for proof (like a birth certificate) as long as it’s reasonable to do so, eg they can’t ask for proof each time an employee requests leave.
Employers can extend parental leave to those groups who aren’t eligible.
Employees must give 21 days’ notice before their intended start date. If they or their partner are having a baby or adopting, it’s 21 days before the week the baby or child is expected.
Employees must confirm the start and end dates in their notice. Unless an employer requests it, this doesn’t have to be in writing.
Leave can’t be refused or delayed if:
If it’s postponed, the employer: