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Unpaid parental leave has been extended

The right to unpaid parental leave has risen from 13 weeks to 18 weeks.

The extension comes in accordance with the EU Parental Leave Directive. It could have been implemented last year, but the Government made use of a 12-month grace period to bring the changes in, which expired on 8 March 2013.

Now, working parents who have completed a year's service with their employer are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted. It can be taken at any time up to the child's fifth birthday, or until five years after placement in the case of adoption. If the child has disabilities, parents can take the time off up to the child's 18th birthday. Parental leave is in addition to any maternity, paternity or adoption leave that employees may be entitled to.

Employees need to give notice of 21 days before the start of parental leave, and the leave should be taken in a full week or weeks, not the odd day here and there. No more than four weeks' parental leave may be taken in any year.

Acas gives information on Parental Leave, as well as many other areas concerning Parents and carers in the workplace. Practical training is also available on Maternity, paternity and adoption, giving you a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about family-related policies.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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