Parental leave allows for time for employees to look after their child(ren). This time can be, to spend time with their child(ren), look for schools or settle into a new childcare situation. Generally, this time off is unpaid and an employer is under no obligation to pay for this time.
For an employee to be entitled to parental leave they must meet certain criteria;
- They must have been continuously employed for at least 1 year with their current employer
- The child in question is under 18.
- Employee must be the registered Mother or Father of the child.
Employees must give 21 days’ notice before they wish to take the leave. An employer can also request evidence that the employee is responsible for the child in question and the age of the child. Employers also have the right to refuse/postpone parental leave if it is in the interest of the business.
Parental leave must be taken in whole weeks and not individual odd days, unless an employer agrees to this or your child is disabled. A maximum of 18 weeks can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday and a maximum of 4 weeks can be taken per year. Parental leave applies to each child not each job.
Periods of parental leave (maximum of 4 weeks per year) should not affect the employees right to return to the same job and with terms and conditions no less favourable than prior to the leave.