The aim of parental leave is to allow Service personnel unpaid leave to care for a child by, for example, spending more time with the child during the early years, to settle a child into new childcare arrangements or to accompany a child during a stay in hospital.
Parental leave allows each parent of each child, either natural or adopted, to take 13 weeks’ unpaid leave, unless the child is disabled in which case the allocation is set at 18 weeks. The leave must be taken before the child reaches 5 years of age unless the child is adopted or disabled.
Both mothers and fathers, whether they are the natural or adoptive parents, qualify for parental leave provided that they have served in the Armed Forces continuously for one year by the time they want to take the leave.
Leave must be taken in blocks of one week (i.e. 7 calendar days), with a maximum of 4 weeks at any one time in any 12 month period for each child.
Parental leave is unpaid and, therefore, is non-reckonable service that does not count towards seniority for promotion, completion of a commission/engagement or pension entitlements.