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Introduction to this document

Parental leave request form

Both male and female employees are entitled to take unpaid parental leave to look after a child under 18 in respect of whom they have parental responsibility. This could involve the employee taking up to 18 weeks off work, although the default provisions limit this to a maximum of four weeks in any year.

Parental leave

Parental leave is a right for employees to take up to 18 weeks off work to look after a birth or adopted child or to make arrangements for the child’s welfare. Both male and female employees qualify for parental leave, as long as they are named on the child’s birth certificate or they have parental responsibility for the child. Parental responsibility is a defined legal concept. Employees must have worked for you continuously for a year to qualify to take parental leave and it can be taken up until the child’s 18th birthday. Our form provides for the employee to give you all the information you require to consider their request. You can also request provision of evidence of responsibility, e.g. the birth certificate or the adoption papers. Female employees can still take parental leave even though they might also have taken their full entitlement to maternity leave. As the entitlement is to 18 weeks in respect of each child, an employee who is a parent of multiple birth children or several young children of different ages will be entitled to 18 weeks’ leave for each child.


Fallback position

There is a “fallback scheme” for parental leave which automatically applies in the absence of you having agreed your own scheme in a collective or workforce agreement and then having given that scheme legal force by writing it into your employees’ contracts of employment. If no scheme has been agreed, the fallback scheme provides:

 leave must be taken in blocks of one week, up to a maximum of four weeks’ leave in a year (for each child). If leave is to care for a disabled child, it may be taken a day at a time

 your employee must give 21 days’ notice of parental leave (if leave is to be taken immediately after birth or adoption, 21 days’ notice of the expected week of childbirth or the expected week of placement should be given)

 you can postpone parental leave for up to six months where the operation of your business would be unduly disrupted by the employee taking leave.