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Taking time off work: For new and expecting parents

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Parental leave

Any new parent who has worked at least 13 weeks for their employer can take parental leave. This includes all new parents, not just birth mothers. It also includes anyone who is in what the law calls a “relationship of some permanence” with a parent of a child, and who is going to treat the child as their own.

Each parent can take a full parental leave, either at the same time as the other parent or at different times.

Birth mothers can take both pregnancy leave and parental leave.

When can I start my parental leave?

Usually, a birth mother who takes pregnancy leave must begin her parental leave as soon as her pregnancy leave ends. But if her baby has not come into her custody and care by then, she can wait until that happens before starting parental leave. For example, her baby may need to stay in the hospital past the end of her pregnancy leave.

Other parents can start their parental leave any time within 78 weeks (about 18 months) after the date the child is born or the date the child first comes into their custody and care.