Parental Leave. Are the rules confusing? Your thoughts please!

(27 Posts)
Vickimumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Oct-12 12:41:46

We've been getting our heads around parental leave in the run-up to this year's Family Friendly awards. It's taken a lot of reading and cross references to make sure we have covered all the entitlements - Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave, Ordinary Paternity Leave , Additional Paternity Leave and then Parental Leave and Dependents Leave for emergencies. We think it's all pretty confusing and we would love to know what you think. Was your employer great at explaining what you are entitled to? Do you think it's easy to understand how to share maternity leave? All your thoughts would be really interesting.

Asmywhimsytakesme Wed 24-Oct-12 14:54:59

Yes! Is it too late to nominate my employer for a family friendly award btw?

I work for the prison service so it was tricky both when I had DD and when I had DS (almost 3 years apart) as HR depts had been downsized and outsourced due to cuts and the policies had changed during the period between the kids. I basically got print outs to read and that was that. I did have to explain some parts to my line manager as she didn't understand hmm

Vickimumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Oct-12 16:47:39

Not too late to nominate ...send details to familyfriendly@mumsnet.com
A few print outs doesn't sound exactly supportive - especially given how hard it is to get your head around the various combinations of entitlement. We are finding some good practice amongst members of the Family Friendly programme but they seem to be real trail blaisers ...

mumnosbest Wed 24-Oct-12 19:37:36

I got printouts too. So poorly worded i ffound them very confusing. I still have no idea about parental leave or emergencies and eldest dc is 8!

MrsShrek3 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:34:35

I know about the various sorts of leave but only because I worked in management for 15 years. I always made sure that the staff who worked under me knew exactly what their rights were wrt maternity/paternity/parental and other sorts of leave. These days I'm not with the same company nor in management, but I'm referred to as "mrs maternity rights handbook" in the workplace and have colleagues (including the boss) come and ask me for info.
There's huge variation between employers in the information available. I currently work for a local education authority and their info is shocking - very hard to find and if you need something it's a phonecall to central HR, the person you first speak to rarely knows the answer and they have to call back when they've looked it up asked a colleague hmm. The management in my particular workplace has no idea about these sorts of rights/info, so cannot advise staff.
IMHO it's down to your management. That's where it goes wrong or right ime.

LoganMummy Wed 24-Oct-12 21:24:15

My DS is now two. When I told my company I was expecting they hadn't a clue! I printed out everything I could find for my boss and for me. They were so useless - they even tried to tell me they were going to start my maternity leave when I was off sick at just five months! I had to show them the info from DirectGov which said they could only do that in last four weeks of pregnancy.
Working for a new employer now but cannot find any info on leave. Guess a call to HR would be the only way but stuff like this should be readily available I think.

Vickimumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Oct-12 22:07:26

Sounds like meagre print outs are common place - that was pretty much what we thought. Some Family Friendly members have done a toolkit for managers and one has done a leaflet for staff. We think everyone should be doing that sort of thing.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 24-Oct-12 22:15:25

It seems that our emergency parental leave is at the discretion of our managers. There doesn't seem to be a lot in black and white.
I always have to keep a few days annual leave spare just in case.

Meglet Wed 24-Oct-12 22:41:17

I have taken unpaid parental leave this year, and am entitled to it until my youngest is 5. HR just sent me an e-mail link to the Direct Gov page.

Although today funnily enough was pondering whether I am allowed to use up parental leave (which I guess I cannot carry over) and carry over annual leave to 'eek' out my holiday a bit more IYSWIM.

And does the parental leave year start from the date your child is born, your employers annual leave year, the date you started with the company or run Jan-Dec? confused.

ThickCut Wed 24-Oct-12 23:34:08

Well in my previous employment over the 12 years I worked there, I had 2 dc and had to look up all my entitlements myself (not even a poxy print out given here sad ). No one told me anything and when I left, they tried not paying me holiday pay because I'd been on mat leave they didn't think I was entitled to it, til I rang them up and made a fuss and even then, because they'd already given me my p45 I had to pay loads of tax on it, which I normally don't have to pay because I don't earn enough. It's going to take lots of to'ing and fro'ing between me and hmrc to get it back.

jai38 Thu 25-Oct-12 18:02:49

As an employer we have no employees with children presently so not something we have addressed yet but in the wider world if ponderings like meglets are the common thought that might tell you why nothing is printed

We have had this issue with paid sick leave some people believe it is additional holiday and taking it as odd days.

I think most employers are sympathetic to most things but the cost of staff not being in is substantial and needs to be considered.

What about Adoption Leave? I had to email my HR dept links to the government info about it & even then had to explain each step as it happened.

Trills Fri 26-Oct-12 11:05:59

This isn't what I thought the thread was about from the title.

It's not just children under 5 who can cause emergencies where you need to unexpectedly take a day or two off work.

Trills Fri 26-Oct-12 11:07:07

An employer that was truly family-friendly would do their best to support people who had emergencies even if they weren't specifically entitled to government-mandated days off.

AmethystMoon Fri 26-Oct-12 14:15:18

No the rules aren't confusing but yes some employers are better than others at explaining it!

shouldersoldier Fri 26-Oct-12 14:19:58

I work under teacher's terms and conditions.
Direct gov website states that as part of parental leave, if your child gets disability allowance and is under 18, parents should be entitled to up to 4 weeks leave a year if necessary to care for their child.
However teachers are not entitled to this leave at all.
I think that's wrong.

thereonthestair Fri 26-Oct-12 14:20:20

well I am a lawyer and had to rewrite the clausein my partnership deed as it was nonsensical. However of the various interpreattaions which could have been given my firm has always always been more generous than it needed to be.

atacareercrossroads Sat 27-Oct-12 13:45:27

My past (thank god) employer was awful and unlawful through the whole mat leave process and their policy re parental leave was incorrect. They don't like pg women or mums

I nominate them for the family unfriendly award.

MrsShrek3 Sat 27-Oct-12 17:18:15

Shoulder is that true? :O will have to look into mine, as I also have a child on DLA.

Grockle Sat 27-Oct-12 20:19:43

I don't understand any of it. I have no idea what I am entitled to or how it works.

sleepyhead Sun 28-Oct-12 00:46:27

My employers have got a great set of written work-life balance policies which are easily accessible on the staff intranet.

They cover carer's leave, adoption leave, discretionary emergency leave (eg for a burst pipe), as well as parental leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, study leave and sick leave.

I feel I know exactly where I stand and it makes me feel supported by my employer = loyal and not about to take the piss.

The only fly in the ointment is that they're a huge employer and have centralised HR in a far less accessible way which mean finding an actual human to talk to if you have any issues is a lot harder. My bosses though are great.

BoffinMum Sun 28-Oct-12 16:26:00

My employer was rubbish and gave me the wrong information a lot of the time. I've never used parental leave because I got enough discrimination as a consequence of having a disability and taking maternity leave.

picturesinthefirelight Sun 28-Oct-12 20:01:37

It's confusing for employers too. You don't actually get sent the info just occasional links to things on the Internet.

I'm not an employer but my parents are & I work for them. Things change all the time. They have approx 30 employees (I'm one of just 2 women) it's not always the employers fault especially when the regulations seem so vague. There have been times when me & mum have read through things several times and still not been sure.

hoops997 Sun 28-Oct-12 22:23:04

I had to print out the rules for parental leave and explain them to my line manager, she was shocked as she didn't know, I really needed a week off and gave the required 4 weeks notice to be told, there's no such thing as parental leave shock

Hence I printed from the company website(!) and explained, this woman is a mother herself!

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