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Parental Leave FAQs

The following information summarises the key points in relation to Parental Leave at Queen’s University. These should be read in conjunction with the Parental Leave Policy which can be accessed here.

  • What is parental leave used for?

    Parental leave is unpaid leave and can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday. It gives members of staff, both fathers and mothers, a right to take time off work to look after a child or to make arrangements for the child’s welfare. Members of staff can use parental leave to spend more time with their children and strike a better balance between their work and family commitments.

  • Who is eligible?

    There is no length of service requirement. A member of staff is entitled to parental leave if he/she has a child who is under 18 and is:

    • Is the parent (named on the birth or adoption certificate) of the child; or
    • Has adopted a child who is under 18 years of age; or
    • Has acquired legal responsibility for the child.

  • What is the entitlement?

    • Queen’s has enhanced parental leave that goes beyond the statutory minimum.
    • A member of staff may take a maximum of 6 weeks parental leave in respect of any individual child in any one year.
    • Parental leave is for an individual child, if twins are born each parent will have the right to take 18 weeks leave for each child.
    • Parental leave must be taken in individual or multiples of 1 week blocks, except in extenuating circumstances, where alternative arrangements can be agreed with the Head of School/ Department/ Unit.
    • A member of staff who has a child with a disability can chose to take parental leave in blocks or single days.

  • Is there a limit on that amount of weeks you can take?

    There is a total of 18 weeks entitlement.

  • Can parental leave be postponed?

    • A member of staff’s request for parental leave may be postponed by the University for up to 6 months, where work would be disrupted if the leave were to be taken at the requested time.
    • Where parental leave has been postponed, this will be discussed with the member of staff and the reasons for the postponement will be given, in writing, within 7 days of application.
    • The University cannot postpone parental leave when a member of staff gives notice to take it immediately after the birth of a child or when a child is placed for adoption. Nor can the University postpone leave so that it ends after the child’s 18th birthday.

  • Does annual leave accrue whilst on parental leave?

    • Yes, a member of staff accrues annual leave entitlement while on parental leave.
    • A member of staff is expected, where possible, to take his/her full annual leave entitlement in a particular leave year.
    • Where this is not possible due to parental leave arrangements or exceptional circumstances, he/she will be able to carry over up to 5 days, the scheduling of which must be taken by agreement with the Head of School/ Department/ Unit.

  • Are pension contributions paid during parental leave?

    • The University’s pension contributions are not paid during the member of staff’s unpaid parental leave.
    • If, on return from parental leave, the member of staff would like to make up their contributions, then the University will make up the employer’s contributions.

  • Can a person return to their own job after a period of parental leave?

    • A member of staff is entitled to return from parental leave to the job in which he/she was employed before his/her absence under the original contact of employment and on terms and conditions not less favourable than those, which he/she would have received had he/she not been absent, if the period of leave was for 6 weeks or less. This also applies if parental Leave follows Ordinary Maternity Leave.
    • If the member of staff is on parental leave for a period of more than 6 weeks he/she is entitled to return to the job in which he/she was employed before his/her absence or if this is not reasonably practicable, to another job which is both suitable for him/her and appropriate for his/her in the circumstances on equivalent terms and conditions. This also applies if parental leave follows Additional Maternity Leave

  • What is the process of applying for parental leave?

    • A member of staff must inform his/her Head of School/ Department/ Unit, in writing, of his/her intention to take parental leave no later than 21 days before the date on which he/she wishes to take parental leave (unless this is not reasonably practicable to do so).
    • The same period of notice is required where a member of staff wishes to take a period of parental leave following immediately after Ordinary or Additional Maternity Leave and Ordinary or Additional Adoption Leave.
    • An application form should be completed and authorised by the Head of School/Department/Unit.
    • An application form for parental leave can be obtained from the Diversity and Inclusion Unit’s website. Application forms can be accessed here LINK.