Employees are entitled to take time off work for the purposes of ‘caring for a child’. It can be taken at any point until the child’s 18th birthday, however, employees need one complete year of continuous service at the date that the parental leave would start.
‘Caring for a child’ means looking after the welfare of the child and that can include making arrangements for the good of the child. Caring for a child does not necessarily mean being with the child 24 hours a day. The leave might be taken simply to enable parents to spend more time with their children. The following are examples of the way leave might be used to:
- Spend more time with the child in early years
- Accompany the child during a stay in hospital
- Investigate new schools
- Settle the child into new childcare arrangements
- Enable the family to spend more time together, for example, taking the child to stay with grandparents.
An employee has an entitlement of 18 weeks parental leave to take until their child is 18. The entitlement is per child so an employee with 2 children under the age of 18 will get 36 weeks parental leave. It can only be taken in blocks of one week – if an employee wanted to take one day’s parental leave, one week would be deducted from their overall entitlement. However, where the employee’s child is disabled, leave can be taken in blocks of one day, and one day will be taken from the overall entitlement.
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