Support for working parents

Family-friendly policies are at the forefront of supporting parents into work and improving retention of staff for any company

Working parents should know their rights to maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave and flexible working in order to raise and support their families.

Maternity leave

There are two lengths of maternity leave: Ordinary Maternity Leave and Additional Maternity Leave.

As an employee you are entitled to 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave. Additional Maternity Leave lasts for 26 weeks and starts at the end of Ordinary Maternity Leave.

The combined 52 weeks is known as Statutory Maternity Leave. Provided you meet certain notification requirements, you can take this no matter how long you've been with your employer, how many hours you work or how much you're paid.

Eligibility for maternity leave and how to claim

If you do not qualify for statutory maternity pay you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance.

Paternity leave

When you take time off because your partner’s having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement you might be eligible for:

  • 1 or 2 weeks paid paternity leave
  • Shared Parental Leave, if your child was due or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015

Eligibility for paternity leave and how to claim

Unpaid parental leave

Eligible employees can take unpaid parental leave to look after their child’s welfare, eg to:

  • spend more time with their children
  • look at new schools
  • settle children into new childcare arrangements
  • spend more time with family, such as visiting grandparents

Eligibility for unpaid parental leave

Shared parental leave

You may be able to get Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay if you’re having a baby or adopting a child.

Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave and how to apply

Encouraging dads to consider Shared Parental Leave

Time off for family dependants

As an employee you’re allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.

There’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.

Further information about time off for family and dependents

Flexible working

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working - not just parents and carers.

Further information on flexible working

Arranging childcare at short notice

There are times when emergency childcare could be needed. To be prepared you could: 

  • build up a list of possible childcarers your child knows well - perhaps childminders who are friends with your childminder
  • reserve some annual leave for emergencies
  • contact the Hampshire Family Information Service for help in searching for local childcare services and guidance regarding schemes to help with childcare costs.
  • Phone 0300 555 1384

    Email childrens.services@hants.gov.uk

  • arrange flexible working options like term-time work, flexi-hours, part-time work or jobsharer
  • use leave options, like extended maternity leave or paternity leave for fathers around the time babies are born
Further information for working parents