2. Entitlement

Parental leave is unpaid. The child must be under 5 (or 18 in special circumstances).

Child Entitlement
For each child 18 weeks up to their 5th birthday
For each adopted child 18 weeks up to their 18th birthday or 5th anniversary of their adoption, whichever comes first
For each child who qualifies for Disability Living Allowance 18 weeks up to their 18th birthday

The limit on how much parental leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child (unless the employer agrees otherwise).

You must take parental leave as whole weeks (eg 1 week or 2 weeks) rather than individual days, unless your employer agrees otherwise or if your child is disabled. You don’t have to take all the leave at once.

A ‘week’ equals the length of time an employee normally works over 7 days.

Example
If an employee works 3 days a week, one ‘week’ of parental leave equals 3 days. If an employee works irregular weeks the number of days in a ‘week’ is the total number of days they work a year divided by 52.

Carrying leave over from a previous job

Parental leave applies to each child not to an individual’s job.

Example
An employee is entitled to 18 weeks. They’ve used 10 with a previous employer. They can use up to 8 weeks with their new employer if they’re eligible.