If your baby is due or you adopt a child on or after 5th April 2015, you could qualify for Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay.
To qualify, you must share responsibility for the child with one of the following:
- your husband, wife, civil partner or joint adopter
- the child’s other parent
- your partner, if they live with you and the child
Shared Parental Leave must be taken between the baby’s birth and first birthday or within one year of an adoption. The system is designed to give parents flexibility in how to share the care of their child in this first year.
Eligible parents have a pot of 52 weeks leave and 39 weeks of pay. It is compulsory for the mother to take the first two weeks of these. After which, parents can share the rest either to be off work at the same time or took take turns to look after the child.
To qualify, the mother or adopter must be entitled to:
- maternity pay or leave;
- adoption pay or leave;
- or a Maternity Allowance.
- have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date or by the date that you are matched with your adopted child;
- and stay with the same employer while you take Shared Parental Leave.
and you partner must at least:
- have been working for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before the week the baby’s due or the week you’re matched with your adopted child. These working weeks do not need to be continuous;
- and have earned at least £390 in total in 13 of the 66 weeks. Again, these weeks do not need to be continuous.
It is important to point out that this is just an option. The mother or adopter can decide to continue with their existing maternity or adoption entitlement. However, if the choice is to use Shared Parental Leave, they can end their current entitlement or give advance notice to curtail it.
An employee is allowed to submit up to three requests to schedule leave which must be in complete weeks. If the request is for one continuous leave period, the employer must grant this. However, if the request is for multiple leave periods, the employer can refuse this but must still allow one continuous leave period.
There is a minimum of eight weeks’ notice required before the start of the first period of Shared Parental Leave.
For instance, the mother opts to take the first 32 weeks of her Maternity Leave and Pay. This would leave 20 weeks of Shared Parental Leave and 7 weeks of Shared Parental Pay available for either parent to take. By the end of the week 24, the mother would need to serve a curtailment notice to her employer discontinuing her Maternity Leave and Pay. At the same time, the other parent could present a notice of to take some or all of the remaining Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
The weekly amount of Statutory Shared Parental Pay has been set at the lower of 90% of your average weekly earnings or £139.58.
These changes certainly give working parents greater care choices in the all-important first year with their child.
However, as with many recent reforms, there is an additional administrative burden on the employer together with the introduction on an element of uncertainty to business. The overall impact will be dependent in large part on how popular the Shared Parental Leave scheme turns out to be.
If you would like any further information or would like advice on any issue relating to employment and pay, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial consultation.