On completion of one year's service, employees are entitled to 13 weeks (in total) of unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted. The leave can start once the child is born or placed for adoption, or on completion of one year’s service - whichever is later.
Parental leave can be taken at any time up to the child's fifth birthday (or until five years after placement in the case of adoption). If the child has disabilities,18 weeks can be taken up to the child's 18th birthday.
You should make a request to your employer giving 21 days’ notice of the start date of the parental leave. Your employer may ask for this in writing. As long as you qualify for parental leave and give your employer the correct notice, you should be able to take parental leave at any time.
If you want to take parental leave straight after the birth or adoption of a child, you should give notice 21 days before the beginning of the expected week of childbirth or placement. If this is not possible, for example, the child is born prematurely or you receive less than 21 days’ notice that a child is to be placed with you for adoption, you should give notice to your employer as soon as possible.
Parental leave should be taken in blocks of a week or multiples of a week, and should not be taken as "odd" days off. You cannot take more than four weeks off in a year. A week is based on your working pattern.
While on parental leave, you remain employed under the same terms and conditions of employment.
Contact us for more information on parental leave.