Skip to main content

Parental Leave


1. Policy Statement/Purpose

1.1 Parental leave is time to look after a child’s welfare, for example, to spend more time with them, settle them into childcare arrangements, visit family etc.   

1.2 Parental leave provides for up to 18 weeks unpaid leave for each child until their 18th birthday.   

2. Scope

2.1 The right to parental leave entitles all employees from the first day of employment with Durham University to take a period or periods of unpaid leave to care for each child (born or adopted). 

2.2 Same-sex parents can take paternity leave provided that the other parent is the spouse, civil partner or partner of the mother/primary carer and they have the main responsibility for the upbringing of the child 

2.3 The right lasts until the child’s 18th birthday. 

3. Responsibilities

3.1 It is the responsibility of the employee wishing to take parental leave to abide by the policy, procedure and timescales included in the policy. 

3.2 It is line managers’ responsibility to adhere to the policy, procedure and timescales in the policy and the associated FAQs. 

3.3 The HR Department will advise managers and staff as required. 

3.4 The HR People & Pay Services Team will ensure that appropriate payroll arrangements are in place

4. Policy, Procedures and Enforcement

4.1 Parental leave is the right to take time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare. Parents can use it to spend more time with children and strike a better balance between their work and family commitments. 

4.2 The leave may start once the child is born or placed for adoption or as soon as the employee has completed a year of service, whichever is later. 

4.3 Each parent can take 18 weeks parental leave in total for each child.  One week of parental leave is equal to the length of time that an employee is normally required to work in a week.  If an employee works irregular weeks the number of days in a ‘week’ is the total number of days they work in a year divided by 52.   

4.4 A maximum of six weeks’ parental leave in a year can be taken in respect of any individual child.  

4.5 Parental leave must be taken in blocks of a week or multiple weeks unless it relates to a child with a disability where blocks of less than a week may be taken.  

4.6 Employees need to request leave giving at least 21 days’ notice in writing before the intended start date, using the form attached below.  The notification should also include the end date of the leave.  Requests should be submitted to the line manager and Head of Department or College to then be forwarded to the HR Department.  

4.7 On the first occasion of parental leave, staff should provide evidence e.g. a birth certificate.     

5. Equality & Diversity

5.1 A full Equality Impact Analysis has been conducted on this policy and no negative impact has been identified.  As part of the process of reviewing all of the family friendly policies, the use of gender neutral language and greater clarity around eligibility promotes EDI across a range of characteristics protected under the Equality Act. 

6.1 All supporting information can be found on the Family Friendly SharePoint Hub of Resources.