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THE UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
PARENTAL LEAVE POLICY
The University positively embraces the provisions contained in the new Employment Relations Act (1999) in relation to Family-friendly employment policies and has developed the following arrangements for unpaid parental leave in support of its commitment to the Act and good employment practice.
2.1 Parental Leave is defined as leave taken to look after a child or to make arrangements for the good of the child. The reasons for the leave need not be connected with the child’s health and may include, for example, the need to accompany a child during his or her first week at school or nursery.
2.2. It should be noted that in addition to arrangements for Parental Leave a member of staff is entitled to take leave in accordance with the University’s policy for Compassionate and Domestic Leave when there is an emergency involving the child.
3.1 A member of staff will have a right to thirteen weeks unpaid leave, (per child) on or after 15 December 1999, if he or she has one year’s continuous service with the University and :
3.2 Leave will be awarded for each of the member of staff’s children born on or after 15 December 1999. In the case of multiple births (twins, triplets) thirteen weeks will be provided for each child. Equally in cases where both parents are employed by the University each parent will have the right to thirteen weeks.
In relation to part-time staff the leave will be in proportion to the time worked, for example, a member of staff who works two days a week will be entitled to 26 days leave per child.
Whilst the University is committed to providing parental leave there should be flexibility about how the leave can be taken. Leave must be taken in blocks of a week. A member of staff will be able to take more than one week at a time up to a maximum of four weeks in any one year subject to the agreement of the Head of Resource Centre (or nominee). However, if such a request presents operational difficulties for the Department concerned, or the individual, agreement should be reached whereby a member of staff could work a shorter working week or consider postponement of the leave in accordance with section 8.
5.1 Members of staff should confirm their request for parental leave in writing to the Head of Resource Centre (or nominee) providing at least 21 days notice. This notice requirement does not apply to parents of disabled children who will be able to take leave in periods as short as a day where necessary. In these circumstances advice is available from staff in Human Resources. In addition, if 21 days notice cannot be given by the parent they can take leave as suggested in paragraph 2.2 in accordance with the University’s policy on Leave for Compassionate and Domestic reasons.
5.2 The exact day on which the leave commences must be given except for fathers who wish to take leave straight after the baby is born or prospective adoptive parents who wish to take leave straight after a child is placed with them for adoption. Additionally, fathers can exercise their right to five days paid leave in accordance with the University’s arrangements for Paternity Leave.
5.3 The Head of Resource Centre (or nominee) should normally respond to a request within 7 days to confirm whether the member of staff can have the leave or whether it must be postponed in accordance with section 8.
5.4 In support of this request the Head of Resource Centre (or nominee) may initially require evidence of the child’s age e.g. birth certificate. This requirement will not be necessary each time leave is requested.
6.1 A member of staff will remain employed during the parental leave period, but will not be paid and will not be bound by any contractual terms and conditions with the exception of terms relating to good faith and confidentiality. The University will equally be responsible for the latter.
6.2 During the leave period a member of staff is entitled to continue pension contributions if they wish. In these circumstances the University will continue to maintain the employer’s contributions. If the member of staff does not wish to maintain employee pension contributions the University similarly is not obliged to maintain the employers contributions.
6.4 After taking parental leave (for periods of four weeks or less) a member of staff will be entitled to be given his or her old job back. If the period of leave exceeds four weeks and it is not reasonably practical to allow the member of staff to return to the same job he or she will be able to return to a role which has the same or better status, terms and conditions of the previous role. Seniority or pension rights that have accrued before taking parental leave will not be affected.
7.1 There may be occasions when the taking of leave causes difficulties within a Department and the Head of Resource Centre (or nominee) may have to ask a member of staff to postpone taking leave. In such circumstances there must be a good business reason for the delay and leave cannot be postponed for more than six months from the date on which the member of staff wanted the leave to commence.
7.2 If the postponement means that the member of staff has been unable to take leave by the child’s eighteenth birthday it can be taken afterwards.
7.3 Postponement of leave is not permissible where a father wishes to attend the birth or be with the child immediately afterwards. As mentioned previously fathers can exercise their right to five days’ paid leave in accordance with the University’s arrangements for paternity leave.
7.4 Where postponement is necessary it is expected that the member of staff and Head of Resource Centre (or nominee) will agree a suitable alternative time to take the leave.
Departments are expected to maintain their own departmental records for all requests for leave.