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Parental Leave Parental Leave is due for a shake-up next year and beyond so what rights do employees have now? – At the moment the right is to up to 13 weeks’ unpaid leave for employees who are parents of children under five, including children who are adopted. Where a child is disabled the right is to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave. – Each parent can take the leave for each child so a couple with 2 children will have the right to 52 weeks’ leave – Employees must have completed at least one year’s continuous employment to take the leave and the leave must be taken to care for the child. – In the absence of any workplace or collective agreement to the contrary, each employee can take up to 4 weeks’ parental leave per child in each year. – The leave must be taken in blocks of a week, unless the child is disabled. – At least 21 days’ notice is required. If the employer can demonstrate that leave at the requested time would be unduly disruptive to the business, they can delay the leave by up to 6 months but must respond to the request in writing specitying when the employee can take the parental leave. However, the employer can’t postpone the leave when it’s been planned to coincide with the birth or placement for adoption of the child. – From March 2013 the 13 weeks will be extended to 18 weeks for each child. – More changes are planned from 2015.

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