Jump to... Parental leave | Applying for leave | Rights to return
The objective of Parental Leave is to enable people with parental responsibility to have time off to spend time with and to look after a child, or to make arrangements for the child’s welfare.
Clergy/licensed lay workers eligible for parental leave will be entitled to a maximum total of 13 weeks' unpaid leave for each child. Leave taken with a previous employer counts toward the maximum entitlement.
Clergy with a disabled child up to their 18th birthday will be entitled to a maximum of 18 weeks' unpaid leave.
Parental Leave can be taken by both mothers and fathers. Parental leave is an individual right and you cannot transfer the leave between parents. For example, a father cannot decide to take only ten weeks and the mother take 16 weeks.
To be eligible for the entitlement, clergy/ licensed lay workers should:
- have completed one year’s continuous service;
- the child has not reached their 5th birthday, or 18th birthday in the case of a disabled child;
- notify the diocesan office in writing of their intention to take Parental Leave at least 21 days prior to the intended date of Parental Leave;
- produce evidence of their responsibility for the child and the age of that child in the form of a child’s birth certificate, adoption placement certificate or the award of disability living allowance in the case of a disabled child.
When parental leave may be taken
Leave must normally be taken in blocks of one week or more, up to a maximum of four weeks in a year for each child. If less than a week is taken at a time, this will count as a whole week.
However, parents of disabled children can take leave in blocks or multiple of one day.
Clergy/licensed lay workers must give at least 21 days' notice of their request for parental leave.
If clergy/licensed lay workers wish to take parental leave immediately after the birth or adoption of a child, they must give at least 21 days' notice before the beginning of the expected week of childbirth or the expected week of adoption, wherever possible.
Postponement of leave
Any leave may be postponed by the Bishop, for a period of up to six months from the date requested where it is considered that the individual’s absence would unduly disrupt the services. Examples of such situations are:
- seasonal or peak work requirements;
- where a significant proportion of the workforce applies for parental leave at the same time;
- where the absence of a key clergy member/licensed lay worker at a particular time would unduly harm the services.
At the end of any parental leave of up to four weeks’ duration, a clergy member/licensed lay worker is guaranteed the right to return to the same role as before.
However, if parental leave follows maternity leave, and it would not have been reasonably practical for the woman to return to her previous role, and it is still not reasonably practical at the end of parental leave, she is entitled to return to a similar role which has the same or better status, terms and conditions the old role.
If parental leave is for a longer period than four weeks, the clergy member/licensed lay worker is entitled to return to the same role, or if that is not reasonably practical, to a similar role with similar or better conditions.