Parental leave is a right for parents who are employees to take time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare. Parents can use it to spend more time with children and strike a better balance between their work and family commitments.
It is unpaid (unless your Employers offers a contractual right to payment) and available for each child born or adopted.
How long does it last?
Employees get 18 weeks in total for each child (increased from 13 weeks before 8th March 2013). (Parents of disabled children have always had 18 weeks).
When can parental leave be taken?
As long as they give the correct notice to their employer, parents are able to take parental leave at any time from the birth (or adoption) up to the child’s 18th birthday.
From 1st October 2014, prospective fathers/partners of pregnant women and intended parents in surrogacy arrangements, will have the right to take time off to attend two antenatal appointments with their partner. There is no legal right to paid time off and the time off to attend appointments will be for a maximum of 6.5 hours on each occasion. This applies to all employees and agency workers with 12 weeks service. ‘Fathers’ must provide reasonable notice of these appointments but there is no need (legally) to provide evidence of the appointment.