Black Friday | 25% off online accounting for 6 months!
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.
Parental leave is unpaid (unless your Employers offers a contractual right to payment) and available for each child born or adopted.
In Autumn 2013, the European Court of Justice decided that a surrogate mother was entitled to maternity leave. The UK government will amend legislation from 1st December 2014 so that prospective parents in a surrogacy arrangement who apply for a parental order are eligible for statutory adoption leave and pay, shared parental leave and pay and paternity leave and pay.
Parental leave is available to employees who have, or expect to have, parental responsibility for a child. To be eligible, employees generally have to have one years continuous service with their current employer. For more information about continuous service, see our guide here.
Employees get 18 weeks in total for each child.
Parental leave is for each child, so if twins are born/adopted each parent will get 18 weeks leave for each child.
A European Court of Justice case in September 2013 (Halliday v Creation Consumer Finance Ltd) found that an employee absent on parental leave could be made redundant, as long as the reason for the dismissal wasn’t the parental leave (this will apply to maternity leave and paternity leave too).
Since 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’s 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.
If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues then talk to us at The HR Kiosk – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.
Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.