If you have at least one year’s continuous service with your employer and are responsible for a child aged under 5 (or under 18 if the child receives Disability Living Allowance) you are entitled to:
– 13 weeks (unpaid) parental leave per child to look after your child, or
– 18 weeks (unpaid) parental leave per child to look after your disabled child.


Leave can be taken in blocks of 1 week up to a maximum of 4 weeks leave in a year (for each child). It can also be taken in one day, or multiples of a day if the leave is to care for a disabled child, again to a maximum of 4 weeks in a year.

Collective or workforce agreements may allow employees to take leave in smaller blocks and/or may allow employees to take more than 4 weeks off in a year.

You may take leave at any time up to a child’s fifth birthday. For the parents of a child in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, leave may be taken any time up to the childís eighteenth birthday. For parents who have adopted a child, the leave must be taken during the 5 years from the date of placement or before the child’s eighteenth birthday, whichever is the sooner.


You must give at least 21 days notice in order to take parental leave. Leave can be postponed if taking leave at the time requested would cause particular disruption to the organisation, e.g. during a seasonal peak in work or if multiple requests for parental leave are made at the same time.

If leave is postponed, your employer must inform you within 7 days of the request for leave being made, and the leave must be granted within 6 months. Parental leave cannot be postponed if it has been requested for the time immediately after the birth of a child or the start of an adoption placement.