Who is eligible?
The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 make available unpaid Parental Leave to staff who have:
- completed one year’s service with the University, and who have
- children born or adopted after 15th December 1999.
The Maternity and Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2001 extend this right to staff who have:
- completed one year's service with the University, or have
- been employed, for a period of not less than one year, by another employer between 15th December 1998 and 9th January 2002, and who have
- children born or adopted between 15th December 1994 and 14th December, 1999,to whom the right applies up to 31st March 2005.
The right applies to mothers, fathers and any person who has obtained formal parental responsibility under the Children Act or its Scottish equivalent (referred to as ‘the parent’ in this document). It comes into effect when the child is born or placed for adoption or when the parent has completed one year’s service, which ever is the later.
What the Regulations allow
The regulations provide for the following:
- A total of 18 weeks’ unpaid leave parental leave per parent for each child.
(Note: Any leave taken with previous employers counts towards this total)
- The right to take the leave lasts until the child is five years old, or in the case of adoptions, until five years after the adoption has taken place.
- If the child is disabled, the entitlement can be taken over a longer period, up until the child's 18th birthday. ‘Disabled’ is defined as a child for whom disability living allowance is awarded.
- Part-time employees will be allowed to take leave in proportion to the time worked.
The following conditions apply:
- Leave may be taken in blocks or multiples of one week.
In the case of leave related to disabled children (as defined above) this condition is eased, and leave may be taken a day at a time if required.
- At least three weeks (21 days) notice must be given.
- No more than four weeks leave may be taken in a year.
- The University has the right to postpone the taking of leave for up to six months, if it can be shown that operational circumstances demand it. However, the University does not have the right of postponement when the leave is to be taken immediately following the birth of a child or immediately following its adoption.
- During the period of leave, all normal contractual obligations continue to apply - for example, with regard to notice periods, confidentiality, redundancy, discipline and grievance procedures.
- Parents will normally return to the same job as they held before taking parental leave. However, if an individual period of leave absence exceeds four weeks, the University has the right to place staff in a similar job which has the same or better status and terms and conditions as the old job.
- A record of all leave taken will be kept on the employee’s file in the Human Resources Department. This record will be made available to any subsequent employers should they request it.
- Parents wishing to take leave should contact their line manager in the first instance, who will then refer the matter to the Human Resources Department.