Advice for working parents

Having a child means your working life is likely to change. You'll need some time to bond with your new arrival, and you may need additional time later on to care for your children (e.g. sick days or days off school).

There is plenty of help in place to ensure that you have adequate time and resources to bring up your child, and to ensure that the transition back to work is as smooth as possible.

Maternity Leave

All new mothers who are in employment are entitled to a minimum of 52 weeks Statutory Maternity Leave. During this time, you will receive Statutory Maternity Pay for up to 39 weeks.

However, some employers may offer an extended period of leave and/or maternity pay, so check this with your employer.

Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is less straightforward than maternity leave, but new fathers may be entitled to either one or two weeks' paternity leave if they meet the required criteria (detailed at the address below). In some cases, the father may also be entitled to paternity pay while they are off work.

More information on paternity leave at

Parental Leave

You have a statutory right to take unpaid time off to care for your children, provided you have worked for your company for at least a year. The standard leave is up to 13 weeks for children under the age of five, or up to 18 weeks for disabled children under the age of 18.

Parental leave must be taken in one-week blocks, so if you need the occasional day off, you may have to ask for regular holiday leave, or arrange a flexible working pattern.

More information on parental leave at

Flexible working

Employers are legally required to seriously consider any request for flexible working hours for parents of children under six years old. They may only reject this request for good business reasons.

Some employers have a formal procedure for requesting a flexible working pattern, so check this with your employer.

More information on flexible working at

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