We have been reporting on imminent improved rights for working parents on almost a monthly basis of late. The changes that have been introduced over the past few months and due within the coming six months are substantial. We will be writing shortly to clients detailing the new right to shared leave which parents may be able to substitute for what are currently periods of maternity leave for the mother only.
We have now had word that the rights surrounding ordinary parental leave are also set to improve.
Currently, parental leave is available to parents (birth and adoptive) and anyone else who has, or expects to have, parental responsibility for a child. Eligible employees may take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child. The parental leave can be taken at any time:
- before the child’s fifth birthday;
- before the fifth anniversary of the date of placement in the case of an adopted child; or
- before the child’s 18th birthday in the case of a child entitled to a disability living allowance.
In October, a new Regulation was laid before parliament which will further increase working parents’ rights from 5th April 2015. From this date, the existing right to parental leave will be extended to parents of all children up to the age of 18.