My ref: EO/3
1st July 2015
Circular No. NP/117/15

Dear Colleague,

Parental Leave

Following new rules introduced in April this year, parents with at least one year’s service with their current employer qualify for 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave per child, which can be taken any time up until the child’s 18th birthday. Previously only parents with children under five were eligible for this EU-derived right.

The statutory right is to unpaid leave which has to be taken in blocks of one week. However, employers can go beyond the statutory minimum and pay the leave or allow it to be taken on a daily or more flexible basis.  The leave must be requested 21 days in advance.

With schools breaking up for the summer holidays in the next couple of weeks, parents who might want to use this unpaid time off work should let their employers know as soon as possible. Employers can postpone parental leave for up to six months if they feel it would unduly disrupt the business.

The TUC’s guides to leave and pay for working parents are available at

Please contact our Equal Opportunities Officer, Jess Webb ( with any queries.

Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash
General Secretary