Unpaid parental leave increases to 18 weeks

The right to unpaid parental leave increases from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from 8 March 2013. 

The change is required to implement the Parental Leave Directive (2010/18/EC), which increased the minimum parental leave provision from three to four months. The Directive came into force on 8 March 2012, however the Government has made use of an exception that allows member states an extra year for implementation. 

Every employee who is the parent of a child can take up to 18 weeks' unpaid parental leave during the first five years of the child's life. Adoptive parents must take their parental leave by the fifth anniversary of the adoption or by the child's 18th birthday, whichever occurs sooner. 

  • March 2013 parental leave change In this XpertHR Outlook video, head of content Jo Stubbs and senior employment law editor Clio Springer discuss the change to the unpaid parental leave regime coming into force in March 2013. 


XpertHR legal timetable and HR calendar Keep up to date with new legislation, consultations and HR developments in 2013 with XpertHR's legal timetable and HR calendar. 

Consultation on modern workplaces - government response on flexible parental leave Details of the increase are set out in the Government's response to the consultation on modern workplaces (on the BIS website). 

Parental leave The XpertHR employment law manual explains the law on parental leave.