Parental Leave (Unpaid)

Parental leave is a right of both mothers and fathers to take time off work to look after a child or to make arrangements for the welfare of a child. The law provides a basic right for unpaid parental leave.

Many good employers will negotiate a better agreement with their staff than that laid down in the law. These negotiations will take place either with a recognised trade union or, in non-unionised workplaces, with representatives who deal with these issues. In workplaces which have these agreements, parental leave rights will be different (and may be better) so you should not rely on the scheme working exactly the same way as described here.

In workplaces where a union is recognised, improvements on the basic statutory rights to parental leave have often been negotiated by the union, including pay for some or all of the leave, through the process known as collective bargaining. Use our Union Finder tool to research the benefits of joining a union and to find the union most likely to be suited to you.

Further Information

You can find out more information about parental leave rights from the GOV.UK parental leave webpage, as well as from the Working Families website.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.