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Can kinship carers get parental leave from work when taking on the care of a child?

Parental leave offers ‘parents’ who qualify the right to take unpaid time off work to look after their child or make arrangements for their welfare. Whether a kinship carer can get parental leave depends on the type of kinship care arrangement. Families can take a look at https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave/eligibility to see whether in their precise situation the kinship carer will quality.

The amount of parental leave a kinship carer can take varies:

  • Kinship carers who have been working for their employer for 12 months or more, have (or expect to have) parental responsibility for a child can have up to 18 weeks of unpaid time off work
  • No more than 4 weeks of parental leave can be taken in a year, unless the employer agrees otherwise
  • Time off should be taken in blocks of one week not as individual days
  • A ‘week’ is the number of days worked in the carers normal working week[1]
  • An employer must be given 21 days’ notice of the date the leave is planned to start, but this doesn’t have to be in writing
  • If the child is disabled, 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave can be taken before the child turns 18.

The rules about parental leave come from The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 in regulations 13 to 16 (and in schedule 2). But helpful, clear information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave.

Kinship foster carers are not eligible for parental leave. But they may still be able to ask for a flexible working pattern. For further information about flexible working see www.gov.uk/flexible-working.

[1] Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 Sch 2

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