I’m a working parent: what are my employment rights?
Category: Working Parents
Parenthood is an adventure that none of us has a map for. And when you’re already deep in Calpol and toddlers drawing on your walls a responsible and sympathetic employer is vital. This month we’re exploring support for working parents. Let’s start at the beginning, like a little person, with the ABCs of the parental working rights that you might not know about. What are you entitled to?
A is for: all about adoption leave
Adoption leave and pay are available to both families and individuals that adopt a child. The law says at least 26 weeks’ ordinary adoption leave (which is normally paid) should be available. This can be followed by up to 26 weeks’ additional adoption leave (possibly unpaid). The qualifiers are being matched with a child for adoption by an adoption agency. And have worked continuously with the organisation for the six months before they were notified of being matched with a child.
B is for being there: parental leave
Employees who have completed one year’s service with their employer are entitled to 13 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted. The leave can start once the child is born or placed for adoption with the employee or as soon as the employee has completed a year’s service, whichever is later. You can take this leave any time up to your child’s fifth birthday (or until five years after your adopted child joined your family). If your child is disabled then the time available grows to 18 weeks and can be taken up to the child’s 18th birthday. Employees remain employed while on parental leave and some terms of their contract, such as contractual notice and redundancy terms, still apply. At the end of parental leave, they have the right to return to a similar job which has the same or better status and terms and conditions as the old job.
C is for connected: flexible working
Parents of children under the age of six or disabled children under the age of 18 have the right to ask their employer for flexible working arrangements. This includes requests for different patterns of work, such as:
If you want to work flexibly then you need to officially write to your employer, explaining how you would like to work. They have statutory duty to consider the request seriously and to refuse it only if there are clear business grounds for doing so. It’s simpler than it sounds.
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