Parental leave allows parents to take time off work, unpaid, with any children under the age of 18 years old. Through unpaid parental leave, parents can spend more time with their children and strike a better balance between family commitments and work commitments – but not all of your employees will be entitled to parental leave and this is what we would like to cover in this article.
Who Is Entitled To Parental Leave?
To qualify for parental leave the employee must have been employed by you for at least one year, they must have a child under the age of 18 years old and they must be named on the child’s birth certificate as the parent, named on the child’s adoption certificate or have legal parental responsibility for the child.
Agency staff and contractors that work for you are not entitled to parental leave and although foster parents do not have rights to parental leave it may be possible to create a flexible working pattern for the employee if they would like this too.
It is important that you state in your parental leave policy who is entitled to parental leave and that evidence in the form of a birth certificate for the child or adoption papers are required as proof of the employee being a parent.
How Much Parental Leave Can Be Taken?
Each parent is entitled to 18 weeks parental leave per child up until the child turns 18 years old; this is the same if the child is adopted. It is important to note that parental leave cannot be transferred between parents; for example the mother could not take 4 weeks parental leave and the father take 32 weeks parental leave – it is 18 weeks per parent.
It is recommended that you state this clearly in your parental leave policy and staff handbook.
What Is The Parental Leave Pay?
You need to make it clear in your policy if you will pay employees for parental leave or not; in many cases statutory parental leave is unpaid, but you may choose to pay your employees. Employees that are classed as on a ‘low income’ may receive income support for parental leave.
Additional Points to Cover In a Parental Leave Policy
In your parental leave policy you need to state the above points so employees fully understand if they are entitled to parental leave and how much they are entitled to, but you will also need to clearly state how much notice you require for parental leave, the leave must be taken in a minimum of one week blocks. You will need to confirm the terms of the contract such as redundancy terms and contractual notice will still apply during parental leave.
If you have concerns about managing parental leave in your business then please contact aspire cambridge directly on 01223 855441.