Ordinary parental leave policy

Published: 23 April 2021
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources

Information on ordinary parental leave.


Ordinary parental leave is a right for parents to take unpaid time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare during the first 18 years of the child’s life.  Parents can use this leave to spend more time with their children and strike a better balance between their work and family commitments.

This policy applies to all Registers of Scotland (RoS) employees and sets out your entitlement to ordinary parental leave and right to return to their job after taking such leave.  All the rights described in this policy apply providing the qualifying conditions are satisfied.

Employees who are planning to take such leave should discuss this with their line manager as early as possible and they can arrange to discuss the procedures to follow.  
You are entitled to up to 18 weeks' unpaid ordinary parental leave per child if you:

  • are the parent of a child who is under 18 years of age;
  • have adopted a child under the age of 18 years of age; or
  • have acquired formal parental responsibility for a child who is under 18 years of age.

To qualify for ordinary parental leave, you must have completed at least one year's continuous service with RoS.

Ordinary parental leave should not be confused with Shared Parental Leave. Shared parental leave enables mothers to commit to ending their maternity or adoption leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave and pay with their partner, or to return to work early from maternity leave and opt in to Shared Parental Leave and pay at a later date. RoS provides a separate policy on shared parental leave.


The following definitions are used in this policy.

  • Disabled child: is a child for whom an award of disability living allowance or personal independence payment has been made.
  • Continuous service: the continuous period over which someone is employed with the organisation.

Rights during ordinary parental leave

If you qualify you will be entitled to a maximum of 18 weeks' Ordinary Parental Leave to be taken up until the child's 18th birthday. During ordinary parental leave you will remain employed, although pay and most contractual benefits will be suspended. The right to accrue statutory holiday entitlement will, however, remain in place. Certain other terms of employment will remain in force. During ordinary parental leave you will be entitled to the implied obligation of trust and confidence, and any terms and conditions of employment relating to:

  • notice of termination;
  • redundancy compensation; and
  • disciplinary or grievance procedures.

If you opt in to take ordinary parental leave you will be bound by the implied obligation of good faith, and any terms and conditions of employment relating to:

  • notice of termination;
  • disclosure of confidential information;
  • the acceptance of gifts or other benefits; and
  • participation in any other business.

Conditions of ordinary parental leave

RoS has adopted the default scheme for the taking of ordinary parental leave and the following conditions apply.

You may not exercise any entitlement to ordinary parental leave unless you have complied with any request made by RoS to produce evidence as to your entitlement, for example, parental responsibility or expected responsibility for the child in question; a copy of the child’s birth certificate or a copy of the adoption papers.

You must give proper notice of the period of leave that you propose to take. This notice must be given to your line manager at least 21 days before the date on which leave is to start and must specify the dates on which the period of leave is to begin and end.

Where the ordinary parental leave is in respect of an adopted child and is to begin on the date of the placement, your notice must be given to your line manager at least 21 days before the beginning of the week in which the child is to be placed for adoption, or as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter. It must specify the week in which the placement is expected to occur and the duration of the period of ordinary parental leave requested.

RoS may postpone a period of ordinary parental leave where RoS considers that its business would be unduly disrupted if the employee were to take leave during the period requested. In such a case, RoS will allow the employee to take an equivalent period of ordinary parental leave beginning no later than six months after the commencement of the period originally requested. RoS will give notice in writing of the postponement stating the reason for it and specifying suggested dates for you to take ordinary parental leave.

Where leave is postponed, line managers must take the following action no later than 7 days from the date the member of staff gave notice to take leave:

  • Discuss the postponement with you to determine a future date when leave can be taken, (no later than 6 months after the date the leave was originally to start).
  • Confirm in writing to you the reason for the postponement and confirming the agreed start/end dates when an equivalent period of unpaid leave can be taken.

If your request is not approved and you cannot reach agreement with your line manager over new dates, you should discuss this with HR team. If, after such discussions you have still not reached agreement on the dates, you have the right to appeal your case under RoS’ grievance procedures.

You may not take ordinary parental leave in blocks of less than one week except in relation to a child who is disabled whereby you may request one day at a time or multiples of one day.

You may not take more than four weeks' leave in respect of any individual child in any year. For these purposes a year is the period of 12 months beginning when the employee first becomes entitled to ordinary parental leave in respect of the child in question, and each successive period of 12 months beginning on the anniversary of that date.

In the case of career breaks, staff who are eligible and want to take advantage of this entitlement may apply for ordinary parental leave, but it would be scheduled either before their career break begins or at the end of the career break, as they are separate entitlements.

Return from ordinary parental leave

At the end of ordinary parental leave, you will be entitled to return to the same job, provided that the leave was for a period of four weeks or less (and did not follow on immediately from a period of additional maternity, paternity, adoption leave or shared parental leave). If the period of ordinary parental leave was longer than four weeks (or followed on immediately from a period of additional maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave), then you will be entitled to return to the same job or, if that is not practicable, to a similar job that has the same or better status, terms and conditions as your previous job.

Approval and review

AuthorEmployee Relations
ReviewedHead of People and Change
ClearedDirector of People
Approval dateExisiting policy
Policy version1.0
Review responsibilityPPG
Review dateApril 2022
Suitable for publicationY