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Parental Leave

Parental Leave is the right to take 18 weeks unpaid leave for the purpose of caring for a child. Effective from 5th April 2015 legislation has been amended for this entitlement to include any child who is under the age of 18. The 18 weeks unpaid period is the total amount of parental leave that can be taken for a child up until that child is 18.

No minimum service is required for eligibility. In order to qualify for Parental Leave you must have responsibility for a child.

This includes:

  • The birth parent of the child
  • The parent of the child if married to the birth parent at the time of the birth or is registered as the child’s parent
  • The parent (if not covered by the above) if they have acquired parental responsibility under the Children Act 1989. This is done either by a court order or an agreement between the birth employee and parent which complies with certain legal requirements
  • A guardian appointed under S.5 of the Children Act 1989
  • Adoptive parents
  • Civil partner of birth parent of the child (as defined by Civil Partnership Act 2005)
  • Foster parent

Parental leave may be taken in a single block of 18 weeks, as a number of shorter periods (1 week minimum) or as agreed with your line manager. 

Requests for unpaid leave of less than one week can be made in accordance with the Flexible Working Policy or unpaid leave provisions.

Definition of a week:

  • Where an employee’s working pattern does not vary, a week is a period which they normally work
  • Where the working pattern normally varies from week to week or over a longer period, or if the employee is normally required to work in some weeks and not others, a week is the total of all periods in which they work, divided by 52.

A week will apply pro rata for part-timers, e.g if an employee normally works for 3 days per week, 3 days will constitute a week for parental leave purposes.


You will be required to apply for Parental Leave using the web based self service system, ‘My View – Dashboard’ giving at least 7 calendar days advance notification of the proposed commencement date for leave.

If you are unable to access the web based self service system, you will be required to complete the Parental Leave Application Form giving at least 7 calendar days advance notification of the proposed commencement date for leave.

Your line manager will approve/postpone the request as appropriate and will notify you of their decision.  This must be done within a period of 7 calendar days from receipt of the request.

N.B. A parent or adoptive parent who wishes to take Parental Leave at the birth of their child or at the time of adoption cannot have their Parental Leave postponed by the Authority.

Parental Leave can be postponed by your line manager:

  • If the operation of the business would be unduly disrupted. However, if the leave is to be taken immediately after a child is born or placed for adoption your line manager may not postpone the leave.

A line manager who wishes to postpone a period of leave must notify you, in writing, within seven days of the request for leave, stating the reason for the postponement.  In addition, your line manager must agree to grant the leave within three months and specify, in writing, the date upon which the leave may be taken after consulting with you.  If no agreement can be reached after consultation your line manager must determine the appropriate dates.

If a period of parental leave incorporates a Bank Holiday, the Bank Holiday will be unpaid and cannot be accrued and taken at a later date.

If you have more than one job with the Council there is not a separate parental leave entitlement for each job, i.e. the total parental leave entitlement remains 18 weeks.

Should you wish to take two weeks parental leave from only one job and remain working in the other(s), this represents a two week reduction in your total parental leave entitlement.

However, if you wish to take parental leave from all jobs and subsequently one (or more) line manager(s) wishes to postpone leave, this will have the effect of postponing leave for all posts. On such occasions it is the responsibility of the line managers to determine an alternative time for parental leave to be taken but this must be within three months of the original request.

Any abuse of the scheme will be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.  Examples of abuse include:

  • Taking leave for purposes other than for caring for your child. This will generally be in circumstances where someone else is taking primary responsibility for your child.
  • Making a false statement as to entitlement to parental leave, for example the age of the child, the relationship with the child or the amount of parental leave taken with a previous employer.

If you consider that you have had a legitimate request for parental leave turned down or that leave has been unjustifiably postponed you can use the Grievance Procedure to resolve the matter.

Page updated: 04/11/2021 10:36:05