New legislation, which came into force on March 8, means that parents can now take up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave.
Previously, this was set at 13 weeks, increasing to 18 weeks for the parents of disabled children only.
Unpaid parental leave covers employees who have a minimum of one years’ continuous service and children aged up to five years old.
Normally this kind of leave is put into practice for attending appointments, to cover schooling or childcare issues, or when a child is ill.
While uptake of the full leave entitlement is expected to be low due to it being unpaid, this will be welcome news for mums and dads who face any of these issues.
This comes shortly after the governments proposals on shared parental leave and is part of a wider strategy by the coalition to provide greater flexibility for parents.
The new provisions will be reviewed in five year’s time by the Secretary of State to assess its impact.