Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 25 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:S3-7213
  • An EU directive gives parents of preschool children the right to up to 13 weeks of unpaid leave, and the government is currently consulting on its implementation. Its model scheme proposes that leave should be taken in blocks of one week, with four weeks” notice given to the employer, who will have the right to postpone it for up to six months if things are busy. Not much help if your child is viral then, but the act also gives employees the right to reasonable amounts of (unpaid) time off to care for any dependant to cover unexpected situations. Maternity rights will also be strengthened: all women will be entitled to 18 weeks of leave regardless of length of service, for example. More information is available from

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