Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Thirteenth Report




1.  On the basis of the Bill as drafted, regulations on parental leave would be required to include the following provisions, which would apply in all cases unless the employee had more generous contractual rights:

  • All employees who have responsibility for caring for a child and have [one year's]* service have the right to at least three months parental leave.
  • The leave must be taken before the child reaches age [8]* [or, in the case of adoption, within [8]* years after adoption].
  • During the leave the terms of the employee's contract continue to apply, but there is no right to remuneration.
  • At the end of parental leave the employee has a right to return to his job or a suitable alternative.

(* The provisions in brackets are for the Secretary of State to set, within limits set in the Parental Leave Directive).

2.  Employers would remain free to offer more generous rights. Any other details or arrangements could be set by workforce or collective agreements, provided they complied with the four basic requirements above.


3.  Where there were no such collective or workforce agreements, the regulations could provide default provisions on which the employee and employer would be able to rely. They might cover some or all of the following elements:

  • definition of 'responsibility for a child;
  • how the three months' leave is to be taken [e.g.: three months in one continuous period; or one month a year for three years following the birth; some other way; possibly including a part time option];
  • minimum notice requirements and if necessary requirements for employers to provide records of leave to new employers, and remedies for non-compliance;
  • the employer's entitlement to postpone the leave where he has objective reasons [the regulations could set out what these might be; place limits on the length or number of postponements etc];
  • a definition of 'remuneration';
  • the terms and conditions which will be required to continue during parental leave will be [e.g. duties of mutual trust, confidentiality etc] and what terms will apply on the employee's return;
  • what happens if the employee is dismissed or made redundant during leave;
  • (possibly) exceptional circumstances in which leave can be transferred from one parent to another.

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