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During parental leave, you will still be an employee but your employer is not obliged to pay your wages during that time. All other terms of your contract of employment, and all the rights and obligations under it, remain in place. You continue to accrue statutory holiday, which can be taken after the end of your leave (although not necessarily immediately after it – you will need to agree it with your employer). 

If you took parental leave before 6 April 2003, your employer does not have to count the period of leave when they are calculating your seniority or pensionable service. However, all parental leave taken after 6 April 2003 must be counted for purposes of seniority, pension and similar rights. In these circumstances, you will be treated as if you had never been absent. 

Some good employers may provide a better parental leave entitlement than the legal minimum and you should check your contract. You should also check any other relevant employers’ policies or union agreements. Whatever the case in your circumstances, your statutory rights (the rights that apply by law) will continue. 

Your employer must not discriminate against you while you are on any part of your parental leave. You should seek advice from your union or a legal specialist in such instances.  

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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