EU directive boosts entitlement by five weeks

Rules which extend the right to unpaid parental leave from 13 to 18 weeks have come into force today.

Working parents who have been employed for a year or more are entitled to take unpaid parental leave to care for their children – in addition to any maternity, paternity or adoption leave that they may qualify for.

This leave – which is now 18 weeks per parent, per child – must be taken before the child’s fifth birthday or the fifth anniversary of their placement for adoption.

In the case of a child eligible for a disability living allowance, the entitlement is 18 weeks’ leave to be taken at any time before the child’s 18th birthday.

Under the statutory scheme, no more than four weeks’ leave can be taken in any one year, and leave must be taken in one-week blocks.

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