As a parish employer you may be required to offer unpaid Parental Leave.  These guidance notes detail what needs to be offered and when.

Key Facts

As a parish employer you are required to offer eligible employees 18 weeks of unpaid “ordinary” Parental Leave to look after each child. Your employee may request “ordinary” Parental Leave for a variety of reasons from spending more time with their children, to going to school for an event or visiting grandparents.

“Ordinary” parental leave gives your employee the right to take unpaid leave for up to 18 weeks in the period up to a child’s 18th birthday.

A parent can take up to four weeks of the 18 weeks in each year.  Parental leave is taken in whole weeks e.g. taking one day of parental leave will take one week of the 18 week entitlement.   The exception to this is if your employees’ child is disabled.

Parental leave is given for each child e.g. an employee with two children can take up to 36 weeks of Parental Leave.

Overview of Employer and Employee responsibilities

  • The employee must inform their parish employer 21 days before they intend to take parental leave.
  • In the notice, the employee should confirm the starts and end dates of the intended leave.
  • The parish can request that the leave be postponed if there is a significant reason eg. disruption to a major event.
  • If requesting a postponement, the parish must write to explain why. This letter must be sent within seven days and must suggest an alternative date which is within six months of the requested start date.

Eligibility for Parental Leave

To take Parental Leave the person that works for you must be an employee (not a worker).  If you are not clear about the status of the person that works for you, please see the Employment Status Indicator.

Your employee can take Parental Leave if they:

  • Have more than one years’ employed service with the Parish,
  • Have a child who is under 18,
  • Are named on the child’s birth or adoption certificate,
  • Have or expect to have parental responsibility.

Rights of employee while on Parental Leave

Whilst on Parental Leave:

  • If less than four weeks leave is taken, the parent is entitled to return to the same job and same terms and conditions that they enjoyed before commencing their leave,
  • With the exception of pension, benefits are accrued whist the parent is on leave.