I used all of my parental leave when my son was a baby. Can I get the benefit of the extra parental leave available since earlier this year?
On 8 March 2013 the amount of parental leave available to each parent per eligible child increased from 14 weeks to 18 weeks.
If your child is still under 8 years of age, then you can take the extra 4 weeks.
Taking parental leave does not affect your other employment rights. Apart from the loss of pay and pension contributions, your position remains as if no parental leave had been taken. This means, for example, that time spent on parental leave can be used to accumulate your annual leave entitlement. A public holiday that falls while you are on parental leave and on a day when you would normally be working is added to your period of leave.
Since 8 March 2013, when you return to work after taking parental leave, you are entitled to ask for a change in your work pattern or working hours for a set period. Your employer must consider your request but is not obliged to grant it.
■In the case of a child with a disability or a long-term illness, parental leave may be taken up to the child’s 16th birthday
■An extension may also be allowed where illness or other incapacity prevented the employee taking the leave within the normal period
■If a child was adopted between the ages of 6 and 8, leave in respect of that child may be taken up to 2 years after the date of the adoption order
Both parents have an equal separate entitlement to parental leave. Unless you and your partner work for the same employer, you can only claim your own parental leave entitlement (up to 18 weeks per child). If you both work for the same employer, and your employer agrees, you may transfer 14 weeks of your parental leave entitlement to each other.
– a legal newsbrief by Kilkenny Solicitors Holland Condon