IGA advice: is it possible to postpone parental leave?

Where do you stand as an employer when you cannot accommodate a parental leave request

IGA advice: is it possible to postpone parental leave?
The Independent Garage Association provides advice on how to correctly postpone parental leave. Image: Bigstock.

The Independent Garage Association explains employer’s rights when it comes to the postponement of an employee’s parental leave request. 

IGA member asks…

“One of our staff is the partner of a pregnant woman who is due to give birth in late December, he is not the biological father of the baby but has taken on parental responsibility.

“He has now put in a request for parental leave for three weeks over Christmas and New Year.

“Our holiday policy is that holiday is granted on a first come, first served basis.

“Several people in the same department have already submitted and been granted holiday over the same period and no further request would be granted.

“If we give our employee his parental leave, we will have to turn work away as we won’t have enough staff to carry it out, none of those people who have already been granted holiday are prepared to cancel it.

“Can we turn down the request for parental leave on the dates he has requested and/or grant it for a couple of weeks later?”

The IGA responds…

In this situation, we have to advise that parental leave can’t be postponed (delayed) if:

  • The employer doesn’t have a “significant reason” e.g. it would cause serious disruption to the business.
  • It is being taken by the father or partner immediately after the birth or adoption of a child.
  • It means an employee would no longer qualify for parental leave, e.g. postponing it until after the child turns 18.

If it is postponed, the employer:

  • Must write explaining why within seven days of the original request.
  • Suggest a new start date,  this must be within six months of the requested start date.
  • Can’t change the amount of leave being requested.

Employers must therefore be very careful when dealing with requests for parental leave and expert advice should always be sought if there is uncertainty about whether it is safe to postpone or not.

For further information about the IGA, click ‘more details’ below.

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