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.
There is no length of service requirement in order to qualify for Parental Leave. 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.
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. There is a total of 18 weeks entitlement.
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. 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.
A member of staff’s request for parental leave may be postponed by the University for up to six months where work would be disrupted if the leave were 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.