Supporting Employees Who Are Parents: Parental Leave

In the UK, parental leave is a term that encompasses different types of leave for employees who have become parents or who have responsibilities for the care of a child. Parental leave can be taken by both mothers and fathers, as well as adoptive parents, and is designed to give them time off work to care for their child or children…

parental leave

The amount of parental leave that an employee is entitled to depends on various factors, such as their length of service with their employer and whether they are adopting a child or giving birth. However, all employees are entitled to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave for each child that they have, up until the child’s 18th birthday.

This leave can be taken in blocks of one week or more, and the employee must give their employer at least 21 days’ notice before the leave is due to start.

In addition to the unpaid parental leave, eligible employees may also be entitled to paid leave under the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme. This scheme allows parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay following the birth or adoption of a child.

To be eligible for SPL, both parents must meet certain criteria, such as having been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks by the time the baby is due or the adoption takes place, and earning a minimum amount of pay.

Parents can take the leave at the same time or separately, and they can also choose to take it in blocks of weeks, rather than all at once.

However, the leave must be taken within the first year after the birth or adoption of the child, and the employer must be given sufficient notice of the intended leave.

In addition to these forms of parental leave, employees may also be entitled to time off work for other reasons related to their children, such as emergency leave to care for a sick child or time off for antenatal appointments. Employees also have the right to request flexible working arrangements, such as part-time work or job-sharing, to help them balance their work and caring responsibilities.

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