Parental leave

Parental leave is the right to take time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child's welfare. It can be used to spend more time with children and strike some balance between work and family commitments.

Qualifications for parental leave

  • you must have at least one year's continuous employment service at the time that you wish to take the leave. Casual and hourly paid staff may need to discuss their individual circumstances with their line manager and HR Business Partner
  • you must be the parent (named on the birth certificate) of a child who is under five years old, or
  • you have adopted, or begun a placement for adoption by you, a child under the age of eighteen, or
  • you have acquired formal parental responsibility for a child who is under five years old, or
  • you must be the parent, adoptive parent or have parental responsibility of a child for whom a disability living allowance has been awarded under the age of eighteen
  • you must not have exhausted your entitlement while working with previous employers

Applying for parental leave

You may apply for leave in blocks of one week at a time, therefore part of a week will count as one complete week.

  • you may take up to four weeks in any one year and up to a maximum of 18 weeks in total per child under 5 years old or under 18 for whom a disability living allowance has been awarded (pro-rata for those employed on term time-only contracts).
  • you should apply at least 21 days in advance of the leave, preferably in writing, to your College Dean/Head of Service, giving the dates when the leave is to start and finish
  • whenever possible you should not apply for leave during peak work times, unless the leave is requested on or around the time of the birth, or adoption, of the child
  • the University may postpone parental leave for up to six months when it is considered that 'the business would be unduly disrupted'. Reason for the postponement will be given in writing within 7 days and will set out the new dates of parental leave
  • you may be required to produce documentary evidence of parental responsibility, such as a copy of the child's birth certificate or adoption order

During parental leave and on return

  • parental leave is to look after a child, which may include making arrangements for the good of the child
  • parental leave may be taken immediately after a period of maternity leave, subject to the notice requirements
  • parental leave must be recorded on the usual absence forms
  • a period of parental leave is unpaid
  • you remain an employee of the University during parental leave (unless your employment contract is terminated for other reasons)
  • you continue to benefit from your statutory employment rights during parental leave
  • you will continue to accrue holiday entitlement during parental leave
  • if you are a member of the superannuation scheme, a period of parental leave will not count towards your pensionable service, nor will you be covered for death in service benefits, unless you elect to continue to pay contributions during your absence
  • after a period of parental leave of four weeks or less you will be entitled to return to your original job. After a period of parental leave of more than four weeks you will be entitled to return to your original job, or if not reasonably practicable a similar job which has the same or better status, terms and conditions as the old job.