New system of Shared Parental Leave and Pay

November 2014
A new system of Shared Parental Leave and Pay has been introduced in respect of children due on or after 5 April 2015 or due to be adopted on or after 5 April 2015. The regulations are before Parliament and are due to come into force on 1 December 2014.

Detailed guidance is available on the ACAS website and the government website (gov.uk) and in the Simply-Docs Guidance Notes, but the key points are:

• As at present, employed mothers will be entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and 39 weeks’ Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance

• If she wishes, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early and, along with her partner or the child’s father, will be able to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) instead of maternity leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements and decide to take SPL, they will need to decide how to divide their SPL and Shared Parental Pay between them

• Two weeks of paid paternity leave will continue to be available to fathers and a mother’s or adopter’s partners. However, Shared Parental Leave will replace Additional Paternity Leave

• Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to SPL and pay.

Intended to mark a move away from a gender-based and inflexible approach to childcare, the motivation behind the introduction of SPL and pay is giving working parents more choice as to how they care for their child in the first year after the child’s birth.

Employers could start to receive notices of eligibility and the intention to take SPL from January 2015 onwards and so, over the next few weeks, Simply–Docs will be adding new documents to, and updating current documents in, its Employment suite of documents in order to help employers get to grips with this wide-ranging change to the rights of their employees. This month, we have two new documents: a Shared Parental Leave Policy and Guidance Notes on Shared Parental Leave.

The final version of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 was finally published this Monday 24th November 2014 and the Regulations take effect on 1st December 2014! Additional letters, documents and information pages covering Shared Parental Leave will soon also be available, and any necessary further changes to documents will be clearly flagged as this portfolio is expanded.

Keep checking back for more letters, documents and information pages on the topic of SPL.

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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