Parental leave is unpaid. A parent is entitled to 18 weeks’ leave for each child and adopted child, 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).

Parental leave must be taken 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.

  • The law sets out the legal minimum leave entitlements for mothers.
    Agreements between employers and employees may provide for better arrangements than the statutory minimum.

  • Paternity leave allows parents to take time off from their work to have time with their child following a birth.

  • Employees who are adopting are entitled to time off in a similar way to maternity leave.

  • SPL is a legal entitlement for eligible parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.

  • The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 introduced a right to Parental Leave for parents of any child under the age of 18.

  • A surrogate parent  may be eligible to Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay from 5 April 2015, provided that:

  • All pregnant employees are entitled to time off to keep appointments for antenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.
    A person in a qualifying relationship with the pregnant employee is entitled to unpaid time off work to accompany the expectant mother to two antenatal appointments.