I requested parental leave straight after my maternity leave as I was still breastfeeding. Even know it states four week per year per child, my company agreed for me to have eight weeks. I thought my employment rights e.g accrued holiday would be protected for the full eight weeks but on my return my employer said my employment rights were only protected for the first four weeks. Are they allowed to do that without informing me?
The default position for parental leave is that employers are entitled to restrict it to four weeks per year. If your employer has not set out its own parental leave policy, the default scheme is deemed to apply.
If, however, your employer granted you eight weeks parental leave (as opposed to four weeks’ parental leave plus four weeks’ other unpaid leave), my view is that the whole period should be treated as parental leave, with your right to holiday accruing. It is arguable that your employer varied the default scheme for you and therefore disapplied the default scheme.