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Shared Parental Leave

January 2015

What is Shared Parental Leave?

At the end of 2014, new rights to allow parents to share leave following the birth or adoption of their child became law and shared parental leave is now available to parents with babies due on or after 5 April 2015. In essence, shared parental leave (SPL) enables mothers to commit to ending their maternity leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as SPL with their partner, or to return to work early from maternity leave and opt in to SPL at a later date.

The SPL legislation is complex and potentially wide-ranging; according to government figures about 285,000 working couples will be eligible to share leave under these new rules. In order to help employers deal with SPL requests, Simply-Docs has produced a suite of SPL documents. In addition to the Shared Parental Leave Guidance Notes and Shared Parental Leave Policy already in the document folder, this month we have added forms and letters enabling employees to make an application for SPL.

What is the process for taking SPL?

An employee who wishes to take a period of SPL must give the Company a written notice setting out the start and end dates of each period of SPL requested in that notice. The notice can be a request for a continuous period of leave or discontinuous periods of leave.

The SPL notices that the parents of the child must give to their respective employers are made up of three elements:

• a Maternity Leave Curtailment Notice, from the mother setting out when she plans to end her maternity leave (unless the mother has already returned to work from maternity leave);

• a Notice Of Entitlement And Intention from the employee giving the employer an initial, non-binding indication of each period of SPL that he or she is requesting; and

• a Period Of Leave Notice from the employee setting out the start and end dates of each period of SPL that he or she is requesting from the employer.

Simply-Docs have added forms and letters to be used by employees to apply for SPL to the SPL documents folder. Forms and letters enabling employees to make a request to vary or cancel SPL will be added by the end of the month.

Employers can continue to use the existing Simply-docs suite of maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave documents but should be aware that additional paternity leave will only be available in relation to babies due before 5 April 2015. After that date, additional paternity leave will be abolished and SPL will apply.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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