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Do you understand shared parental leave?

Intricate rules over the eligibility for shared parental leave are leaving employers in the dark – with concerns over information security and legal challenges to new maternity benefits.

As of the 5th of April 2015 new regulations came into place which means that additional paternity leave no longer exists and anyone due to give birth or adopt, will now be able to share their leave with their partner, known as ‘Shared Parental Leave’. It will be mandatory that the mother takes 2 weeks off, however the 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks of statutory parental pay which will be left can now be shared. This can be taken at the same time, separately or in a series of blocks, if their employer is in agreement.

This liberal legislation could lead the cause of achieving better equality in the workplace as dads will now receive extra reason to spend this valuable time with their children. It does however appear confusing and there are some big question marks over the level of uptake as the TUC has given an estimate that two out of five fathers will not be eligible, due to their partner not being in paid work.

So how do you know if fathers are eligible?

Requirements:

• The baby must be due or adopted on or after 5th April 2015

• The mother must take a minimum of 2 weeks maternity leave (4 if she is a factory worker). The leave which is left can now be shared between parents.

The mother must be:

• Eligible for maternity pay or allowance or adoption leave of pay

• Have been employed for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the child’s due date(or date they are matched with their adopted child)

• Still be employed by you at the time they take Shared Parental Leave

• Accurate in giving the correct notice (8 weeks)

• Willing to declare that their partner also meets the employment and income requirements for Shared Parental Leave (See below)

The mother’s partner must also qualify. They must have:

• Worked at least 26 weeks from the last 66 weeks

• Earned at least £30 a week on average in 13 of the week’s.

How do you start Shared Parental Leave?

• The mother has to end their maternity leave/adoption leave by returning to work

• Curtailment Notice must be given to the employer of the date that they intend that their maternity/adoption leave will end

• Maternity pay/allowance must end

• For the partner this can start while the mother/adopter is still on maternity/adoption leave as long as bindging notice for the leave (or pay If she is not entitles to leave) to end has been given.

For further details on Shared Parental Leave or if you find your Employee Handbook requires a policy update to satisfy the new legislation please contact Solve.