Parental Leave - Section 35

Carer and children doing crafts

Parental Leave  Section 35 is a separate provision from either maternity or maternity support (paternity) or adoption leave and should provide a non-transferable individual right to at least 18 weeks’ leave. Leave is normally unpaid, but may be paid by local agreement.

Employees who have nominated caring responsibilities are entitled to: 

For each child (including adopted and those who are disabled)
18 weeks up to their 18th birthday 

Some Key Points 

  • Leave arrangements need to be as flexible as possible, so that the leave may be taken in a variety of ways, by local agreement. 
  • During parental leave all contractual rights should be maintained, except remuneration and employees should return to the same job after it. 
  • Periods of parental leave should be regarded as continuous service. 

This page should be read in conjunction with the parental leave provisions which can be found in Section 35 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook Other useful sources of information:    

Further information: 

If you are a member of staff and have a query, please contact your HR team or local trade union representative.

Employers should send queries to 



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