Introduction to this document

Parental leave policy

If you don’t set out your own agreed procedure for dealing with parental leave, the statutory default procedure will apply. Our policy statement complies with the statutory provisions because you’ll probably find that the statutory procedure is all you really need in most cases.

Parental leave

Parental leave is entirely separate to shared parental leave. It is unpaid leave that is available to both male and female employees and it enables those who have been employed for at least a year and who have, or expect to have, parental responsibility for a child under the age of 18 to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave for the purpose of caring for that child. Beyond that, you can set your own rules on how many weeks can be taken in each year, whether this can be taken in odd days or as one long block or even as reduced working hours, how much notice of parental leave must be given and what the arrangements are for postponing parental leave. If you don’t agree a parental leave scheme, the default scheme will apply. This provides that parental leave must be taken in blocks of one whole week (or a whole number of weeks) up to a maximum of four weeks a year (although it can be taken in odd days in the case of a disabled child), 21 days’ notice of parental leave must be given by the employee and you can postpone leave where the operation of your business would otherwise be unduly disrupted, but not for more than six months and not where it is to be taken immediately after birth or adoption. Our Parental Leave Policy statement reflects the default scheme so you will need to amend it if you want to be more generous in any respect.