Parental Leave

INTRODUCTION

  1. The College recognises the need for effective policies, which play a key
    part in supporting an appropriate work-life balance. Such policies are
    intended to: allow a more effective combination of home and work
    responsibilities; enhance equality of opportunity at work and retain skilled
    and valued employees.
    SCOPE
  2. This scheme describes entitlements to parental leave for all employees at
    the College. Employees are also encouraged to refer to other related
    HR Approved: November 2007 2 of 7
    documents such as the Maternity Leave, Flexible Working, and Special
    Leave guidelines.
    PARENTAL LEAVE
  3. Employees with at least one year’s continuous service are entitled to take
    a total of up to 13 weeks’ unpaid parental leave if they have, or expect to
    have, parental responsibility for a child. Parents of disabled children (a
    child for whom an award of disability living allowance has been made) are
    entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave.
  4. Employees (both mothers and fathers) are entitled to parental leave in
    respect of each of their children and this leave must be taken before the
    child’s fifth birthday except in the case of children entitled to disability
    living allowance, where the leave may be taken up to the child’s 18th
    birthday.
    GIVING NOTICE TO START PARENTAL LEAVE
  5. The written notice required by the College from an employee intending to
    take parental leave must:
    a) specify the dates on which the period of leave is to begin and end;
    and
    b) be given to the College at least 28 days prior to taking the leave,
    unless there are exceptional circumstances which have been agreed
    by the Head of Human Resources.
  6. In order to establish an employee’s entitlement to parental leave, the
    College will request evidence of:
    a) their responsibility for the child in respect of which parental leave is to
    be taken, this may include, for example, a child’s birth certificate, a
    parental responsibility order, an adoption order, a MAT B1;
    b) the age of the child in respect of whom parental leave is to be taken.
    This may include, for example, a child’s birth certificate;
    c) details of any parental leave that the employee has taken during any
    employment with another employer;
    d) the child’s entitlement to disability living allowance where appropriate.
    WHEN PARENTAL LEAVE MAY BE TAKEN
  7. Normally, leave should be taken in blocks of not less than 1 week.
    However, consideration will be given to blocks of less than 1 week and
    whether a maximum number of weeks in any one year are appropriate.
    CONTACT WITH THE COLLEGE DURING PARENTAL LEAVE
  8. An employee’s line manager will seek to ensure that during the period that
    the employee is absent from work on parental leave, they will be
    communicated with on a regular basis.
  9. For periods of parental leave in excess of four weeks, prior to the
    commencement of the parental leave, line managers should discuss with
    the employee arrangements for covering work and also for providing
    opportunities to remain in contact with the College whilst on leave.
    THE RIGHT TO RETURN TO WORK AFTER PARENTAL LEAVE
  10. If an employee has taken parental leave for a period of four weeks or less,
    at the end of the period of parental leave, the employee will be entitled to
    return to the job in which he/she was employed under his/her original
    contract of employment, and on terms and conditions no less favourable
    than those to which he/she would have been entitled had he/she not been
    absent. This means he/she will be entitled to any pay awards and annual
    increments, which he/she would have received if he/she had been at work.
  11. In cases of parental leave in excess of 4 weeks, or less than 4 weeks’
    leave directly after additional maternity leave, the employee is entitled to
    return to the job in which he/she was employed under his/her original
    contract on terms and conditions no less favourable than those to which
    he/she would have been entitled had he/she not been absent unless this
    is not reasonably practicable for the College, (and in the case of an
    employee who has taken less than 4 weeks’ leave directly after a period
    of additional maternity leave, provided it would also not have been
    reasonably practicable to allow her to return to her original job at the end
    of her additional maternity leave), in which case the employee will return
    to a job with comparable terms and conditions to their previous role.
  12. If the College cannot offer the employee the right to return to his/her
    original job because of redundancy that would have occurred whether or
    not the employee had been absent, the College will offer the employee
    any suitable alternative employment that is available. If no suitable
    employment is available, the employee will be made redundant, and
    receive redundancy pay in line with their statutory and contractual
    entitlements.
    POSTPONING PARENTAL LEAVE
  13. The College can postpone or reduce the length of parental leave where
    an employee has given the appropriate notice but the College considers
    that the operation of its business would be unduly disrupted if the
    employee took parental leave as requested. For these purposes “unduly
    disrupted” means any circumstances in which the College’s business,
    organisation or interests is/are likely to be threatened, harmed or
    undermined.
  14. It is preferable that postponement should not occur in any other than
    extreme circumstances. As a guide only, parental leave may be
    postponed in circumstances where for example, the College is undergoing
    a management/business restructuring which requires significant employee
    involvement for success; or if the College will be in breach of a significant
    contractual obligation if the employee is granted the parental leave as
    requested.
  15. If the College has to postpone or reduce parental leave, the employee will
    be able to take parental leave of the same length as originally requested,
    or the remaining period of parental leave in the case of reduced leave,
    within 6 months of the date of the postponement or reduction in leave.
  16. The College will not be able to postpone an employee’s parental leave in
    the circumstances where the employee has given 28 days’ notice to the
    College of intent to take parental leave which commences on the day on
    which childbirth occurs, or the day on which the child is placed for
    adoption.
    PARENTAL LEAVE AND PENSION RIGHTS
  17. Employees may wish to continue to make pension contributions during
    the period of absence on parental leave to maintain continuity of
    pensionable service. Employees should contact the payroll department
    regarding arrangements for their pension. Periods of parental leave will be
    regarded as continuous service.
  18. A day’s pay for the purposes of calculating the unpaid leave will be made
    on the basis of 1/365 of annual salary.
    PATERNITY LEAVE
  19. The partner of a woman giving birth to or adopting a child is entitled to two
    weeks paternity leave. In order to qualify the person must have or expect
    to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing and be the biological father
    of the child or be the mother’s husband or partner.
  20. To qualify for paternity leave the employee must have 26 weeks
    continuous service at the 15th week prior to the expected week of
    childbirth or adoption date.
  21. Paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the baby’s birth or
    placement. Paternity leave may be either one week or two consecutive
    weeks. No period may be less than one week. The first week will be
    payable at the employee’s contractual rate of pay. The second week (if
    taken) will be payable at the Statutory Paternity Pay rate.
  22. Employees who qualify for statutory paternity leave and whose average
    weekly earnings are above the lower earnings limit for the purposes of
    National Insurance contributions will also have the right to Statutory
    Paternity Pay, which is currently paid at the same rate as the standard
    rate of Statutory Maternity Pay.
  23. To take paternity leave you must inform your manager of your intention by
    the 15th week before the baby is due to be born or if adopting no more
    than seven days after being matched with the child. You must inform your
    manager in writing when you intend to start your paternity leave and how
    many weeks you intend to take. Any intended changes to this leave must
    be discussed with your manager, who may, unless it is not reasonably
    practical to do so, refuse any changes. The employee should give at least
    28 days notice and a copy of all correspondence must be sent to Human
    Resources. Please use the form attached to the end of these guidelines.