Parental leave and time off for dependants

Minimum requirements of workplace parental leave schemes


A workplace agreement on parental leave must, at the very least, comply with certain minimum requirements. The agreement can be more favourable for the employee, for example, a shorter period of notice or allowing leave to be taken in shorter blocks.

Default provisions for a workplace parental leave scheme

The default provisions for a workplace parental leave scheme are that it must:

  • allow an employee with parental responsibilities and one year's continuous service, to take unpaid parental leave
  • allow an employee to take a total of 18 weeks of parental leave for each child - see parental leave entitlement
  • allow for an employee to give 21 days notice of their intention to take parental leave - see parental leave notification and postponement
  • permit an employee to take leave up to the child's 18th birthday
  • limit an employee to no more than four weeks of parental leave per year
  • permit an employee to take leave only in blocks of one week (individual days if the child is entitled to disability living allowance, personal independence payment, or armed forces independence payment) - see when parental leave can be taken and for how long
  • ensure that the employee's employment contract continues and certain minimum contractual conditions continue to apply - see contractual issues during parental leave
  • ensure that the employee is entitled to return to the same job or, under certain conditions, a similar job - see returning to work after parental leave

Failure to reach an agreement on a parental leave scheme

If you fail to reach - or simply don't have - a workforce agreement on parental leave arrangements, you must comply with the default provisions.

Enhancing a parental leave scheme

You can of course agree with workplace representatives to enhance your parental leave scheme by, for example:

  • paying employees, eg full or half pay, while they are on leave
  • allowing employees to take more than their maximum statutory parental leave entitlement
  • specifying a notice period that is less than 21 days
  • LRA Workplace Information Service
    03300 555 300
Developed with:
  • LRA