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Shared parental leave now available

A family row of wellington boots

In light of shared parental leave now being available, we have invited a member of our employment law team to blog for us.

Shared parental leave is now available to parents of children with an expected week of childbirth, or who are placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.

Shared parental leave at a glance

• Shared parental leave (“SPL”) allows parents to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption.
• The mother must take the first 2 weeks of leave after childbirth but the remaining 50 weeks’ leave (and 37 weeks’ pay) can be shared.
• The leave may be taken consecutively, or concurrently by both parents.
• 2 weeks’ paid ordinary paternity leave is still available, provided it is taken by the father / partner prior to them taking SPL. Additional paternity pay and leave is no longer available.
• Employees taking SPL must have 26 weeks’ service at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (or at the week in which an adopter was notified of having been matched with a child for adoption) and must still employed in the first week that SPL is to be taken.
• The mother and the father/partner must both give their employer 8 weeks’ notice of their intention to take SPL (“the opt-in notice”). There are detailed statutory rules on what information must be provided, including a non-binding indication of the expected pattern of leave.
• A mother’s partner can start SPL while the mother is still on maternity leave, provided the mother has handed in a curtailment notice.
• SPL can be taken in a minimum of one week blocks.
• Parents must agree the timing and periods of SPL with their employers.
• An employee who requests a single continuous block of SPL will be entitled to that leave.
• An employee can ask to take SPL in discontinuous blocks but this may be refused after a 2-week discussion period. If it is refused, the employee will be entitled to take the full amount of requested SPL as one continuous block (to start when the employee chooses); or withdraw their leave notice.
• Up to 3 separate SPL notices can be given, allowing employees to take up to 3 separate blocks of SPL.
• It is possible that only the father will qualify for SPL (e.g. where the mother is self-employed).

Please get in touch with a member of our employment law team for further information or advice about shared parental leave.

Further information is also available on the ACAS website. http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4911

Julie Keir sign-off

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