Employees who have served one year’s continuous service are entitled to take parental leave in order to care for a child.Not to be confused with ‘shared parental leave’, parental leave is usually unpaid and allows the employee to take up to 18 weeks off work for each child under 18 years. This time can be taken immediately following maternity or adoption leave, or at any point up until the child’s 18th birthday.
The nature of parental leave
Parental leave ensures a child has access to appropriate care and supervision at all times. This can include medical appointments, arranging time for the child to spend time with their grandparents or helping the child settle into any new childcare arrangements. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the parent is expected to personally supervise the child for the entirety of the leave period.Be aware that parental leave can only be taken in blocks of one week and not single days – unless this is explicitly agreed with the employer or the child has a disability. If this is not explicitly agreed and the employee chooses to only take one day’s parental leave, one full week will be deducted from their total allowance.
Where possible, the employer should be given at least 21 days’ written notice in advance of the start of parental leave so that they have adequate time to arrange cover. In mitigating circumstances, such as a premature birth, the employer should be notified of the intention to take parental leave as soon as possible.Employers also reserve the right to postpone parental leave if there is a sound business reason for doing so, such as seasonal work or a staff cap on approved absences. Employers can postpone this time up to a maximum of six months, providing that the child does not reach their 18th birthday in that time.
Please be aware that we use various Cookie technology across our website. We use necessary cookies to make our website operate. With your permission, we'd also like to set optional Google analytics cookies to help us improve our service, however, we won't set optional cookies unless you enable them.
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser setting, but this may affect our websites functionality and your user experience.
We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies on your visit, which is a performance cookie that would help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting on information relating to how you use it. This type of cookie collects information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. You can also opt-out of having your anonymised browsing activity within websites recorded by analytics cookies.
For more detailed information on how the cookies we use work and how to opt out, please see our