Parental leave...in 60 seconds

…written by Up All Hours

  1. #parental leave
  2. #employment
  3. #rights
  4. #work
  5. #unpaid
  6. #leave
  7. #teenagers

Actually I know about this one already. A friend's husband just took this new 'shared parental leave' thing, so that they both had the summer off work - PAID - after their third baby was born in May. She just gets a shorter amount of paid maternity leave.

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No, this is something else, that was also introduced this year.

Oh. Can a grandparent get paid leave to help with a newborn, cos that would be ace. Or my godmother's daughter Jules, who's like, practically my sister? I think that's perfectly rational.

No. This is only for parents, and you don't get paid.

Right. So why would I want to take it?

Well, if you've used up your holiday allowance, you might want to help your kids settle into new childcare arrangements, or look round a school, or simply want to spend more time with them if they're going through a tricky patch.

Hmm. Maybe. Keep talking.

You're entitled to take a total of 18 weeks of unpaid leave until your child is 18. Under certain conditions. One of which is that you have to have been working for the company for at least a year.

What else? There must be a few more catches than that.

Freelancers, contractors, the self-employed and agency workers can't claim it. You have to use whole weeks at a time, with a maximum of four weeks in any one year. But you don't have to stay working for the same company - you can move jobs, then wait a year, and pick up using your allowance where you left off.

And this really happens? People actually do this, and their employer can't do anything to stop them?

The leave can't be postponed unless the employer has a 'significant reason', eg that it would cause serious disruption to the business. Or if it's being taken to time with the birth or adoption of a child. Or if it means the child will turn 18 before the employer's suggested new start date - which must be within six months of the requested start date.

Well, I still think it would go down like a lead balloon where I work.

Your employment rights are protected - like the right to return to the same (or similar job) upon your return, with the same pay, amount of paid holiday, etc.

Well that's very interesting. I bet most parents whose kids are teenagers don't know about this. I'm going to mention it casually at book club - I love telling people useful things they don't know.

For more information, go to http://www.gov.uk/parental-leave

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