Parental leave guidance

Aim

Oxford Brookes University is committed to a policy of equality of opportunity and recognises the value of staff balancing work and family commitments. This policy is to inform employees and line managers of employment rights relating to parental leave and to provide a framework for the decision making process. It also cross references to associated policies where appropriate.

This document is based upon the Maternity and Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2001.

Definition of parental leave

Parental leave is a right to take time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare. Parents can use it to spend more time with children and strike a better balance between their work and family commitments. Parental leave is in addition to maternity leave and annual leave, and is unpaid.

Qualification for parental leave

A member of staff will qualify for parental leave if they had a baby or adopt a child on or after 15 December 1999 and have completed one year of qualifying service with Oxford Brookes University by the time leave is taken.

A member of staff will qualify for parental leave if they had a baby or adopted a child between 15 December 1994 and 14 December 1999 and have completed one year of continuous service either with Oxford Brookes University or a previous employer between 15 December 1998 and 9 January 2002.

Both mothers and fathers can take parental leave.

Parental leave entitlement

A member of staff who qualifies for parental leave is entitled to up to 18 weeks leave in total (not per year) for each child, to be taken during the first 5 years of the child's life or the first 5 years of adoption or up to the child's 18th birthday, which ever comes first. Parents of children claiming a Disability Living Allowance are entitled to 18 weeks parental leave to be taken during the first 18 years of the child's life. In the case of multiple births, an employee is entitled to a separate 18 week period in respect of each child (18 weeks for a child claiming a Disability Living Allowance). If a member of staff has twins for example, he/she will be entitled to a total of 36 weeks parental leave.

A part-time member of staff is entitled to leave in proportion to time worked, for example, a member of staff working one day per week is entitled to 18 days leave in total.

Leave is taken in blocks of 1 week at a time, up to a maximum of 4 weeks per year. A year, with respect to taking parental leave commences on the date on which the member of staff first became entitled to take parental leave i.e. once the member of staff has one continuous year of employment if the child has already been born or adopted, or from the date the child was born or adopted.

Taking leave

Leave is to be taken in blocks of 1 week at a time, up to a maximum of 4 weeks per year. Part weeks are counted as full weeks, unless the child is claiming Disability Living Allowance. E.g. if a full time member of staff takes his/her first slice of parental leave in a three day block only twelve weeks leave will remain.

Parents of children claiming Disability Living Allowance are entitled to take leave of one day at a time which will not be counted as full weeks.

Parents of children born on or after 15 December 1999 can take the leave up until the child’s fifth birthday. Parents of children born between 15 December 1994 and 14 December 1999 can take the leave up to 31 March 2005. In adoption cases, where the date of placement is on or after 15 December 1999 for five years after the child is first placed with the family for adoption (or until the child’s 18th birthday if that comes sooner). Adoptive parents of children placed for adoption between 15 December 1994 and 14 December 1999 can take the leave up until 31 March 2005. In the case of a child with a disability, up until the child’s 18th birthday (for the purposes of parental leave, a disabled child is one for whom Disability Living Allowance has been awarded).

Children Born Children Adopted
Was the baby born on or after 15/12/99? Was the adoption placement on or after 15/12/99?
If "yes" then assuming the member of staff qualifies for parental leave, it can be taken up until the child's 5th birthday. If "yes" then assuming the member of staff qualifies for parental leave, the member of staff can take leave up until 5 years after the child is first placed with the member of staff, or the child's 18th birthday which ever is sooner.
Was the baby born during the period 15/12/94 – 14/12/99? Was the date of placement during the period 15/12/94 to 14/12/99?
If “yes” then assuming the member of staff qualifies for parental leave, leave can be taken up until 31/03/05. If “yes” then assuming the member of staff qualifies for parental leave, the leave can be taken up until 31/03/2005, or the child’s 18th birthday, whichever is sooner.
If the answers to the above questions is “no” to the above then the member of staff does not qualify for parental leave. If the answers were “no” to the above questions, then the member of staff does not qualify for parental leave.

Requesting leave

Leave is requested using a parental leave form which can be found in Appendix A. 21 Days’ notice is required to be given for leave.

Where the member of staff is the father of the child and the period of leave is to begin on the date on which the child is born, the member of staff must inform the University at least 21 days before the beginning of the expected week of child birth.

If a child is placed with a member of staff for adoption and the leave is to begin on the date of the placement, the member of staff must give the University at least 21 days notice before the beginning of the week of the placement, or if this is not reasonably practicable, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

The Line Manager will reply to the request for leave within 7 days of the request being made.

Postponing parental leave

Parental leave may only be postponed, in consultation with an HR Representative, if it is not taken for the period immediately after the birth of the child or the adoption of the child and the member of staff has given 21 days notice. The leave may be postponed for up to 6 months if the business needs would be unduly disrupted during the period of leave. If leave is postponed beyond the 5 year limit the parent still has the right to take the remaining leave time.

If leave is postponed, the Line Manager should discuss the reasons with the member of staff and should confirm the postponement arrangements in writing no later than 7 days after the member of staff gave notice to take leave, and should give a copy of the letter to the HR Directorate. The letter should state the reason for the postponement and set out the new dates of parental leave, as agreed with the member of staff, which must be equivalent to the length of leave originally requested.

N.B. Where parental leave needs to be postponed, an HR Representative must always be consulted before the final decision to postpone parental leave is made.

Passing parental leave records to future employers

Records of all leave requested and taken, including all letters relating to postponement of leave, should be collated by Line Managers and forwarded to the HR Directorate.

If the new employer requests, HR Advisors are responsible for informing them of the amount of parental leave a member of staff who has left Oxford Brookes University has taken and the amount that is remaining.

HR Advisors are responsible for finding out from the previous employer of new members of staff, how much parental leave has been taken and how much is remaining.

Evidence of entitlement to parental leave

HR Managers are entitled to ask to see evidence to confirm that a member of staff is the parent or the person who is legally responsible for the child. Evidence may take the form of: a MATB1, information held in a birth certificate, adoption papers, or in the case of a disabled child, the award of Disability Living Allowance for the child. The University’s request must be reasonable and evidence should not be sought on each occasion that leave is requested.

Unreasonable refusal of parental leave

Staff who think they have been unreasonably refused time off, have their leave request refused for in excess of six months or are victimised for taking parental leave, should raise the matter in line with the Grievance procedure.

They also have a right to make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal. A complaint to a tribunal must normally be made within three months of the date when the time off was refused or the victimisation took place.

Alternative leave

Maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, time off for dependants and compassionate leave are also available and their suitability for the situation should be considered as a possible alternative if it is appropriate.

 

update March 2013