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Date: 10/07/2017

With the long school holidays looming parents will be looking at ways to ensure their children are cared for without paying out for costly childcare.

A solution for parents to do this is to take parental leave but according to The Telegraph research found that 41 per cent of 1,500 working parents were unaware of their legal right to take unpaid parental leave to take care of their children. However, there is no legal right for employers to advise parents of this entitlement.

The parental leave scheme entitles an employee who has had at least one year’s service with an employer to take 18 weeks of unpaid leave per child under 18 years. 

Leave may be taken straight after the birth or adoption or following a period of maternity leave.

Employees must give 21 days notice, in writing if you prefer, and provide start and end dates.

Parental leave must be taken in blocks or multiples of a week, up to a maximum of four weeks per year, per child.  If the employee has taken any parental leave in previous jobs then this needs to be added to their total entitlement as it is not an annual entitlement.  So when taking on new employees you will need to check with their previous employers to see how much parental leave, if any, they have already taken.

A persons employment rights will remain protected whilst taking parental leave such as holiday entitlement, returning to the same job or suitable alternative, contractual notice and redundancy terms.

For more information on Parental Leave visit or contact  Geoff Ellis, Employment Solicitor