The 60-second guide to... getting parental leave this summer
Parental leave can eliminate the childcare bills which working parents of schoolgoing children would otherwise face over the summer. Although the leave is unpaid, it can be the easiest and cheapest way to ensure your children are looked after when the schools close for the holidays.
You must usually take the leave before your youngest turns eight - or the age of 16 if your child has a long-term illness.
Each parent is entitled to up to 18 weeks' parental leave per child.
You cannot get parental leave if you're self-employed. You must generally be an employee and have worked continuously with the same company for a year to qualify for it. You may be entitled to pro-rata parental leave if working with the same employer for more than three months - but less than a year.
Your boss does not have to grant you parental leave. It may postpone parental leave twice in respect of the same child - due to work volumes.
To apply, you must give written notice to your employer of your intention to take parental leave. You should then inform your employer in writing at least six weeks before the leave is due to start. The notice should state the starting date and how long the leave will last. After this, you will need to sign a document with your employer confirming the details of the leave - not less than four weeks before the leave is due to start.
Ask your employer how you can limit the impact on your pension before you head off on parental leave.
Should you have already used up your parental leave, you may be able to get term time (where you take a block of unpaid leave when your children are off school for the summer) - particularly if you work in the public sector.
Sunday Indo Business