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Shared parental leave – what you need to know

The idea was conceived, gestated in Parliament and will be born on 1 December. Shared parental leave will shake up parental rights, so you need to get your head around it. Let’s get you started. 

What is shared parental leave? It’s the right of parents, but not the obligation, to split 52 weeks of parental leave between themselves – as they see fit. The Mother must take the statutory leave after birth (normally two weeks, but for factory workers four). The remaining leave can be split – taken in turn or together – with eight weeks’ notice given. A parent can request leave in on/off blocks but you do not have to grant this. Only the Mother is entitled to the six weeks 90% of salary payment, with the remaining leave paid at the statutory rate.
When will it affect us? The law comes into force on 1 December 2014 but will only start affecting parents of babies born after 5 April 2015.
Who does it apply to? Broadly speaking, this will apply to parents and adoptive parents employed for 26 weeks or more.
How should I handle it? All employers need to develop a clearly worded policy. Much of the administrative burden will actually fall on the employees: requesting leave within required timescales and co-ordinating between employers. You will be entitled to see the birth certificate and details of the partner’s employer and NI Number. Communication between you and your employees will be key.
Contact The HR Dept to stop this becoming a nightmare.


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