How Officers Can Benefit From Parental Leave

More officers need to know that they are entitled to parental leave, the Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Police officers who have children are entitled to 18 weeks of unpaid leave for each child, which can be used any time before their 18th birthday. If they adopt, they get it from the date of adoption. Parental leave can be used so that officers can “be absent from work, for the purpose of caring for that child”.

Officers might be put off using it because it is unpaid, South Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Steve Kent said, but it can be an easier option than reducing hours at work or requesting a flexible working plan.

People might have unexpected caring responsibilities, especially if they’re going through a separation. Or perhaps someone needs to look after their children in the summer holidays if their childcare falls through.

If an officer takes parental leave, their annual leave for that year remains unchanged, so they can also take their full amount of holiday. Parental leave is an entitlement that the Chief Constable will grant, as long as the officer gives 21 days’ notice.

Steve said: “Our Equality Lead, Andy Hobbs, is pushing this awareness in our force. Officers need to be aware of what they’re entitled to.

“Some people are reluctant to take the leave, or don’t think they can. But in a lot of cases, it’s not a case of if you can, it’s just informing the force that you are using your rights to parental leave. That’s got to be the shift in focus.

“When people need it, they should just be confident to say, ‘I’m having this leave and I’m informing the force about it, as per the regulations and the legislation.’ Our force has been quite positive when it comes to maternity support, so we’re now pushing the awareness of parental leave.”