What happens to my conditions of service when I’m on parental leave?

During parental leave, you will still be an employee but your employer is not obliged to pay your wages during that time. Your contract of employment – and all the rights and obligations under it - remain in place, except your right to be paid your wages. You continue to accrue statutory holiday.

If you took parental leave before 6 April 2003, your employer does not have to count the period of leave when they are calculating your seniority or pensionable service. However, all parental leave taken after 6 April 2003 must be counted for purposes of seniority, pension and similar rights. In these circumstances, you will be treated as if you had never been absent.

Some good employers may provide a better parental leave entitlement than the legal minimum and you should check your contract. You should also check any other relevant employers’ policies or union agreements. Whatever the case in your circumstances, your statutory rights (i.e. rights that apply by law to all employees in this country) will continue.

Your employer must not discriminate against you while you are on any part of your parental leave. You should seek advice from your union or a legal specialist in such instances. For more information, see our Enforcing your Rights section.

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.

What is WorkSmart?

A career coach that works for everyone.


Enjoy bite-sized activities delivered to you every week.

Lightbulb brain

Equip yourself with essential skills to be the best you yet.


Get the guidance you need to stay focused and reach your goals.

Worksmart circle