Tag Archive for: parents

Unpaid Parental Leave: Your Right to Extra Time Off

Occasionally, an unexpected need arises in relation to your child's welfare and you simply have to deal with it.Sometimes it can be almost impossible for working parents to juggle their jobs with complications associated with parenting. Occasionally, an unexpected need arises in relation to your child’s welfare and you simply have to deal with it — even though you’re trying to hold down a job. For this reason, working parents in the UK are protected by law and are entitled to a fairly generous amount of unpaid parental leave from work, without their jobs or employment rights being threatened as a result. While such absence from work is unpaid, time off can be an absolute godsend when your child’s welfare is at stake. Today, we take a look at eligibility and rules around unpaid parental leave for UK parents.

Reasons to Take Unpaid Parental Leave

You may need time off to look at nurseries or pre-schools for your little one.Entitlement to take unpaid parental leave from work comes down to the need to look after the welfare of your child under 18. Some examples may help to illustrate a few of the possible scenarios:

  • Perhaps you can’t arrange alternative childcare for a particular future period. However, this will happen while you’ll be busy at work and, at that point, you also know you’ll have no more annual leave remaining. In such a situation, you simply have to look after them yourself using your unpaid parental leave entitlement. After all, they are very young and cannot simply be left to fend for themselves.
  • Another example would be when you need to take time off with your youngster to go and look at nurseries, pre-schools, schools or even further education settings when it’s nearing time for them to enrol with one. When it’s not possible to do such things outside of working hours, at weekends or during standard annual leave, unpaid parental leave can really come into its own.
  • You may also wish to take unpaid leave from work to ensure your child settles in well at any new childcare or education setting. A week’s grace when they start somewhere new can really help you and your child at such major milestones in your lives.
  • Unpaid parental leave can also be taken for something as simple, though important, as spending some quality time with family. For example, perhaps the child hasn’t spent time with their grandparents in a while and you’d like to pay them a visit as a family. Unpaid parental leave, away from work, can be used for that.

Your Unpaid Parental Leave Entitlement

You are entitled to take 18 weeks of parental leave before your child is 18.There are a few, simple rules around entitlement to unpaid parental leave in the UK:

  • You are entitled to take up to a total of 18 weeks of parental leave from work, on an unpaid basis, by the time your child reaches the age of 18.
  • You can take up to 4 of those weeks in any one year.
  • The entitlement applies to your own children as well as adopted children.
  • The entitlement is per child under 18.
  • You need to take the time off in whole weeks, rather than ad-hoc days, unless your employer agrees otherwise or unless your child is disabled. For part-time or shift workers, a whole week would be equivalent to the number of working days you usually work in any 7 day period. For those working an irregular pattern, an ‘average week’ can be computed by looking at the number of days worked over a whole year, then dividing by fifty-two.
  • The 18 week maximum, per child under 18, is based on the child(ren) not the job. So, aside from the additional eligibility requirements outlined below, the number of times a parent changes jobs along the way is not relevant.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

As well as the child(ren) being under the age of 18, a few additional requirements need to be met in order to be eligible for unpaid parental leave:

  • Only those who have been employed by the current employer for at least a year are eligible;
  • The scheme applies to employees only, not the self-employed, agency workers or contractors;
  • The employee must be actually named on the birth or adoption certificate(s) of the child(ren) in question, or have — or expect to have — official parental responsibility;

Your Employer

Employer's are entitled to 3 weeks' notice before you can take unpaid parental leave.By law, employers do require sufficient notice from you when you’re planning to take unpaid parental leave. Legally, they require 3 weeks’ notice (21 days) before you can begin to take the time off. You will also usually need to confirm an end date. In practice, though, some employers are lenient when an unexpected emergency occurs and such notice may not be possible, for example a child suddenly becoming ill and no other childcare being available on such short notice. They are not obliged to be lenient in this way, however.

Your employer does have a right to postpone (but not cancel) your requested parental leave if they can show that the business would suffer or be disrupted, or for some other significant reason. However, they cannot postpone it …

  • if such a postponement would take the date of parental leave past the child in question’s 18th birthday,
  • or if the leave is being taken by the father/partner right after the child has been born or adopted.

When an employer does confirm that it needs to be postponed, it must be done in writing, with the reason explained, within a week of the employee’s request. It must also be rescheduled for no later than 6 months after that original request date. The amount of time originally requested must also not be altered by the employer.

We hope that this guide is useful to parents with children under 18. Please feel free to share it on social media or to bookmark it in your browser.

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery & Pre-school, Edgbaston, Birmingham

One of the best nurseries & pre-schools in the Birmingham, Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood, Smethwick & Edgbaston Area

Leaps & Bounds nursery & pre-school is in Edgbaston, Birmingham B16, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick

Leaps & Bounds is one of the best nurseries and pre-schools in Edgbaston, Birmingham and also a great choice if you’re looking for an outstanding nursery near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood or Smethwick. We’d love to show you and your child around, so you can see the high quality of childcare and the excellent facilities for yourself. We are also taking applications for nursery places right now, for babies and children under five. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to help with all the answers. Please choose a button below to contact us and we’ll be delighted to take the next step with you:

Parents: The Secret to a Child's Success!
Parents, YOU are the secret to your child’s success!Parents, YOU are the secret to your child’s success!

Specifically, you are an incredibly important part of your child’s education and, if you are actively involved in it, your child will benefit significantly. Study after study shows that children benefit enormously in their learning and development if parents are actively engaged in their education. The greatest benefit is when parents involve themselves right from the early years. What’s more, the benefits can have a life-long positive impact on outcomes for those children. Here’s the conclusion of just one study:

“Students with […] parents operating in supportive roles are 52% more likely to enjoy school and get straight A’s than students whose parents are disengaged with what’s going on at school. This is especially the case during the earliest years of schooling, […] when students with active parents are almost twice as likely to succeed.” (Pinantoan, 2013)

Those are incredible statistics, particularly in the case of early years education. In view of this, we’ll take a look at how and why parents should involve themselves in their children’s educations and how this involvement will benefit the children.

What we mean by parental involvement in educationFirst, Though, What Does Parental Involvement Involve?

By ‘parental involvement’ in children’s educations, we mean that parents actively involve themselves in what’s going on at nursery, pre-school, school or further education. This includes ensuring they understand how the child is progressing, helping children understand the curriculum topics and activities, assisting with problem areas, helping with homework when needed and connecting with teachers and education staff to ensure the collaborative support is ‘fully rounded’.

Ideally, parents should:

  • Engage with teaching staff at open days/evenings;
  • Regularly engage with key nursery school staff outside of open days, so parents understand what the current focus is — they can then better support their children’s learning;
  • Agree the child’s strengths and weaknesses with staff so as to help improve those weaknesses in a joined-up, strategic way;
  • Encourage children through praise and help whenever needed — children will be happier and achieve more with a parent’s moral support;
  • Let children know that expectations are high, but realistically achievable (without being unpleasantly strict);
  • Allocate a part of the house as a quiet space, that’s free of distractions, where their child can focus and study in peace and quiet. Ensure they have everything they need there to accomplish their work;
  • Read to children and listen to them reading;Child with parents, reading a book
  • Check their grammar and spelling and ensure they learn from any mistakes — for example, writing the correct spelling of a problem word ten times. If parents are not great at spelling and grammar themselves, then applications like Microsoft Word can spell- and grammar-check for them (although do not allow children to rely on this — they need to learn from mistakes highlighted rather than relying on auto-correct);
  • Refer to the appropriate curriculum-based text books with children, to proactively help them find answers to questions and solve problems together;
  • Test children on their knowledge of a topic, particularly when exams and tests are imminent. This can be very beneficial in identifying areas where the child needs more study;
  • Proactively choose (and visit) the best educational settings for their particular child — not simply allow momentum and inactivity to select for them. (Read our excellent write-up on how Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery Ticks All the Boxes if your child is under five and is looking for an outstanding nursery or pre-school in Edgbaston or the Birmingham area);
  • Regularly check and contribute to the Personal Development Folder that your child’s nursery or pre-school will be maintaining for your child. Read notes therein from the nursery staff and identify potential problem areas where you can help.

The Benefits of Parents Being Actively Involved in their Children’s Education

We’ve already hinted at a few of the ways that children will benefit from parents being actively involved in their education. We’ll now look in more detail.

“Parents who invest time and place value on their children’s education will have children who are more successful in school. (Meador)

The benefits of parental involvement in the education of childrenParental involvement in children’s education benefits the child in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Statistically proven behaviour improvements and lower truancy rates;
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence;
  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels, with a more positive ‘can do’ attitude;
  • Improved skills and knowledge that’ll stand them in good stead going forwards;
  • A happier outlook, higher morale and a better quality of life;
  • Improved core subjects like English & maths that will help improve all other subjects;
  • Improved communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, organisation and focus;
  • Closer bonds with parents;
  • Hands-on help understanding problem areas;
  • Children will be better prepared for tests and exams;
  • They are statistically proven to achieve better grades;
  • With better grades, they are likely to have a better choice of schools and further education establishments, including universities when they’re older;
  • Ultimately, with better educations and qualifications, their careers, life choices and earning potential as adults are likely to be superior.

With better educations and qualifications, children’s career and life choices will also be improved.

The benefits of parents being proactively involved in children’s educations cannot be overstated — they are potentially huge. When handled well, it can help children learn more, get better grades, be less stressed, end up in better education/further education institutions (including university choices when they’re older) and, ultimately, improve their career choices and earning potential. That is priceless!

How we help at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, BirminghamAt Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Birmingham

At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, Birmingham, we really encourage parents to be involved in their children’s educations. With a myriad of proven, long-term benefits, it makes total sense for nursery staff and parents/carers to collaborate. With improved outcomes across the board, this collaboration and proactive involvement of parents is all in the best interests of every child. It makes such a difference.

Our learning and development programmes are tailored to the strengths, weaknesses, skills and interests of each individual child under the guidance of a ‘Key Person’ who is allocated to each individual. Parents are encouraged to keep abreast of these programmes through regular dialogue with nursery staff, so that the good work can be further supported while children are at home. A continuous progress journal is also maintained for every child and parents can access these at any time. We even encourage them to make additions in respect of children’s progress outside of the nursery so that a more rounded picture is painted.

Nursery places in Birmingham Available

If you are looking for good nurseries in Birmingham, we’d love to hear from you. We have just a few places available in our nursery in Edgbaston, near Birmingham. Its location may also suit those looking for pre-schools, nurseries or childcare services near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood, Smethwick around the B16 postcode zone. If you’d like to explore the idea of your child attending this outstanding childcare setting, please contact us (or book a visit) here, or call 0121 246 4922 for further information. We’d love to meet you and your child and to show you around!