The Parental Leave Act 1998, as amended by the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006, allows parents to take parental leave from employment in respect of certain children.
Age of child
Since 18 May 2006, leave can be taken in respect of a child up to 8 years of age (was 5 years). If a child was adopted between the age of 6 and 8, leave in respect of that child may be taken up to 2 years after the date of the adoption order. In the case of a child with a disability leave may be taken up to 16 years of age. In addition an extension may also be allowed where illness or other incapacity prevented the employee taking the leave within the normal period.
Amount of parental leave
Parental leave is available for each child and amounts to a total of 14 weeks per child. Where an employee has more than one child, parental leave is limited to 14 weeks in a 12-month period. This can be longer if the employer agrees. (This restriction does not apply in the case of a multiple birth, such as twins or triplets.)
The 14 weeks per child may be taken in one continuous period or in 2 separate blocks of a minimum of 6 weeks. There must be a gap of at least 10 weeks between the 2 periods of parental leave per child. However, if your employer agrees you can separate your leave into periods of days or even hours.
Both parents have an equal separate entitlement to parental leave. Unless both parents work for the same employer, you can only claim your own parental leave entitlement (14 weeks per child). If you both work for the same employer and your employer agrees you may transfer your parental leave entitlement to each other.
The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016.
The above Act introduced statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks together with a new Paternity Benefit. The legislation allows new fathers to start the combined package of paternity leave and Paternity Benefit at any time within the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child. The provisions apply to births and adoptions on or after 1 September 2016. You must notify your employer that you intend to take paternity leave and of your intended dates no later than 4 weeks before your leave. You must provide proof of the expected date of birth of your child.
Illness of parent
If the parent becomes ill while on parental leave and is unable to care for the child the leave can be suspended for the duration of the illness. In order to suspend the parental leave the employee must give written notice and relevant evidence of the illness to the employer as soon as is reasonably practicable. The parental leave resumes after the illness. During the illness the parent is treated as an employee who is sick.
Employment rights while on parental leave
You are not entitled to pay from your employer while you are on parental leave nor are you entitled to any social welfare payment equivalent to Maternity Benefit or Adoptive Benefit.
Taking parental leave does not affect other employment rights you have.
Annual leave and public holidays
While on parental leave, you must be regarded for employment rights purposes as still working. This means that you can build up annual leave while on parental leave. If your annual holidays fall due during parental leave, they may be taken at a later time. A public holiday that falls while you are on parental leave and on a day when you would normally be working is added to your period of leave.
Useful pdf Guide on Parental Leave follow link.
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