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Increase in Unpaid Parental Leave


Padma Tadi, solicitor in Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, highlights the new increase in parental leave entitlement and additional government proposals that will impact parents at work.

From 8 March 2013, parents of children up to 5 years old will be able to take up to a maximum of 18 weeks unpaid parental leave per child. This is an increase from the previous 13 week limit. However, this will continue to be limited to a maximum of 4 weeks per year.

In addition the Government has announced proposals:-

1. For a new system of flexible parental leave and pay that they are looking to introduce by 2015 - this would introduce the concept of shared parental leave, which would allow the parent (subject to meeting eligibility criteria) to share the time off over the maternity leave period, after the compulsory 2 week period at the start.

2. For an increase in the right to request flexible working from employees who are parents or carers to cover all employees.

3. To allow employees who are in a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman to take unpaid time off work to attend up to 2 antenatal appointments.

These proposals are currently subject to consultation, and no definite dates have been announced, but the Government is looking at introducing them in 2014 or 2015.

Due to the proposed complexity, there are a number of areas that it is hoped the Government will be able to “iron out” prior to their introduction, so that they are manageable from a practical perspective for the employers of both parents.

If you require further advise on this issue, please contact Padma on 0113 220 6239 or padma.tadi@irwinmitchell.com