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Parental Leave Policy & Procedure

This guide provides information on how to apply for unpaid leave to look after children under the age of 18 years


You are eligible for parental leave if you have:

  • completed one year’s service with the University, and have

  • one or more children under the age of eighteen

This 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.

How much parental leave am I allowed to take?

You are entitled to take a total of 18 weeks unpaid parental leave per parent, per child. (Note: any similar leave taken with previous employers counts towards this total).

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid leave. '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.

Taking parental leave

The following conditions apply:

  1. Leave may be taken in blocks or multiples of one week.

  2. 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.

  3. For adopted children the right to take leave lasts until five years after the adoption has taken place.

  4. At least three weeks (21 days) notice must be given.

  5. No more than four weeks leave may be taken in a year, per child.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.