Employees who are parents (including adoptive parents), or in certain cases other employees who have formal parental responsibility for a child and who have one year's service are now entitled to take up to 18 weeks' unpaid parental leave for each child under 18.

The leave can be taken at any point up to the child’s 18th birthday. Leave must be taken for a minimum of a 1 week and a maximum of 4 weeks (unless you agree otherwise), however, if the child is disabled it can be taken one day at a time.

Unless you agree otherwise the statutory position states a minimum of 21 days’ notice before the intended leave date, with the employer having the right to postpone the parental leave for up to six months if the absence would cause substantial disruption or harm to the business.

Typical employment law pitfalls

Since establishing in 2003 we have had no queries at all in relation to parental leave, reflective of the fact that these regulations are not well known and even less used. However we do advise our customers to ensure that they do not limply respond to short term applications for ‘parental leave’ from employees who do not follow the rules, or who perhaps are trying to avoid the consequences of poor attendance.

Help & support

Please feel free to contact us if you require any clarification of an employee’s entitlement under the parental leave regulations.

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