Parental leave is a right for parents to take time off work to look after a child. You can take 13 weeks parental leave per parent per child. It is usually unpaid but check your contract as some employers offer paid leave.
Who can take parental leave?
You can take parental leave if you are an employee and you have, or expect to have, parental responsibility for a child. You must have worked for your employer for one year.
How much parental leave can I take?
You can take up to 13 weeks for each child up to their fifth birthday. Parents of disabled children get 18 weeks in total to be taken up to their 18th birthday. (A "disabled child" is one for whom an award of disability living allowance has been made.) Check to see if there is a workforce or collective agreement at your workplace which sets out a parental leave policy at your workplace. If there is no agreement at your workplace the following rules apply.
Parental leave must be taken in blocks or multiples of
one week up to four weeks a year.
Parents of disabled children can take leave in blocks or multiples of one day,
you must give 21 days' notice in writing stating when you want to start your leave and how much you want to take.
When can parental leave be taken?
You can take parental leave at any time up to the cut off point which applies to you:
Parents of children born between 15 December 1994 and 14
December 1999 can take leave up to 31 March 2005
Parents of children born on or after 15 December 1999 can take leave up to their child's 5th birthday
Adoptive parents of children placed for adoption between 15 December 1994 and 14 December 1999 can take leave up to 31 March 2005 (or the child's 18th birthday if that is sooner)
Adoptive parents of children placed for adoption on or after 15 December 1999 can take leave up to the fifth anniversary of the date of placement (or the child's 18th birthday if that is sooner)
Parents of disabled children can take leave up to their child's 18th birthday
Can my employer refuse parental leave?
Your employer can postpone parental leave if they think that it would unduly disrupt the business. Your employer can postpone the leave for no longer than six months from the time that you originally wanted to start your parental leave. Your employer must notify you in writing no later than seven days after your notice to take leave, stating the reason for the postponement and setting out the new dates of parental leave.
Can leave be postponed if I want to take leave immediately after the birth of my baby?
No, your employer cannot refuse or postpone leave immediately after the birth of your baby. You must give 21 days' notice before the beginning of the expected week of childbirth.
My employer has refused to let me take parental leave?
You have the right to go to an employment tribunal if your employer prevents you from taking parental leave. You are also protected from victimisation, including dismissal, for taking it.