The right to unpaid parental leave increases from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from 8 March 2013.
The change is required to implement the Parental Leave Directive (2010/18/EC), which increased the minimum parental leave provision from three to four months. The Directive came into force on 8 March 2012, however the Government has made use of an exception that allows member states an extra year for implementation.
Every employee who is the parent of a child can take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave during the first five years of the child’s life. Adoptive parents must take their parental leave by the fifth anniversary of the adoption or by the child’s 18th birthday, whichever occurs sooner.