Parental Leave

Parental leave – what is it? Who is eligible to it? And how do they apply for it? This post will hopefully help towards solving the mystery of Parental Leave and distinguish the difference between dependant care leave.

What is Parental Leave

Parental Leave is a statutory leave for Parents to take in order to care for their child. This leave is unpaid and is used for instances such as, taking time to look at new schools for a child, settling a child into new childcare arrangements or simply to spend more time together as a family.

Where Dependant Care leave differs is that it is for emergencies only, to allow an employee to make arrangements in order to be able to return to work, normally 24-48 hours. Dependant care leave is also unpaid leave.


In order to be eligible to parental leave an employee must have been employed by the Practice for at least one year and their child must be under the age of 18.

What entitlement does an employee receive?

An employee is entitled to 18 weeks leave per child under the age of 18. The statutory guidance is that this entitlement should be taken in blocks of a week rather than the odd day here or there. However it states that the Practice has the discretion to allow the leave to be taken as they see fit. Guidance stipulates that no more than 4 weeks per year should be taken, however, it is down to the Practice’s discretion to allow more to be taken in any given year. If an employee has a child who is disabled, the guidance stipulates that the Practice should be more flexible in terms of how much Parental leave is used at any given time.

How must an employee apply for Parental Leave?

An employee should provide the Practice with 21 days notice of when they intend to start their leave. Their request does not have to be in writing unless you stipulate otherwise. Their request should include the start and end dates of their leave.

Recording Parental Leave

Parental leave should be recorded under its own separate category. It is important that it is not lumped in with sickness absence, or grouped in with absence days when reviewing an employees high level of absence. Reason being is that it is a statutory entitlement so an employee has a right to use their entitlement it.

How we can help

Hopefully you found this post useful, and it helped clear up some confusion between parental leave and time off for dependants. If you do have any issues or concerns surrounding leave, whether its parental leave or sickness absence, please don’t hesitate to contact the HR Team at Avon LMC. You can call the office on 0117 970 2755 or email

By: | 2nd July 2021 | blog