Legal Article - Employment Law

Shared Parental Leave

From 05 April 2015, new parents (both natural birth and adoptive) are able to claim, Shared Parental Leave. Put simply, this is a way in which both parents can share, up to 50 weeks leave, when a baby is born.

New mothers must take the first 2 weeks immediately following the baby’s birth as leave, but the remaining 50 weeks can now be split between the parents, in blocks of complete weeks. This can be taken in one single period, or a number of separate periods.

Statutory payment known as Shared Parental Leave Pay (ShPP) will be paid for 39 of these weeks. Companies can of course implement their own company rates over and above this statutory minimum.

The Regulations are rather complex, so we have tried to break down the key elements here to assist you in understanding the new rules. We have also published a suggested Shared Parental Leave Policy for you to download and implement into your staff handbooks.

1. Who is eligible to claim this leave?

Who is eligible to claim this leave?

There are number of eligibility criteria here;

a. For a mother to claim SPL she must;

  • Be entitled to claim maternity or adoption leave i.e have been continuously employed  for the Company for 26 weeks calculated as at the 15th week before the baby is due to be born, or, in respect of an adopted child, calculated as at the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched with the child for adoption.

  • Have a partner whom will share the parental responsibility with.

  • Have given notice to their employer that they want to reduce or curtail their maternity or adoption leave.

b. In the case of the partner of the mother or adopter;

  • They must be the mother’s or adopter’s partner at the date of the child’s birth or placement for adoption and share the main responsibility for the care of the child with the child’s mother or adopter.

  • They can only take leave if the mother or adopter is already entitled to Maternity or Adoption Leave.

  • They must be an employee in continuous employment with the Company until the week before the period of leave is to be taken.

2. How does the employee inform me that they want to take leave?

How does the employee inform me that they want to take leave?

a. The mother must first give notice that they wish to end any maternity or adoption leave they are currently undertaking. This must be given at least 8 weeks before any pre agreed date of return. N.B - A partner can take a period of SPL whilst the mother or adopter is still on maternity or adoption leave, providing they agree to reduce their current period of leave to accommodate for the SPL.

b. Alternatively, the employee must serve a curtailment notice to end their current leave, and notify the employer that they wish to opt into shared parental leave. This means that shared parental leave can commence one day after the end of the two week compulsory leave period, the mother must take following the child’s birth.

c. If leave is not to be taken immediately following the above two week period, a curtailment notice must be served 8 weeks before the end of the partners leave period. The partner must have returned to work before this period of leave begins.

d. To accompany any notice to opt into SPL, each parent must present to the employer a notice of entitlement to affirm theirs and their partner’s entitlement to leave.

3. Can the employee take more than one period of leave?

Can the employee take more than one period of leave?

a. Each parent can take up to 3 separate blocks of leave.

b. Each block can commence on any day of the week, but must be taken a minimum periods of one working week.

c. Each block must be specifically booked using the above notices and generally cannot be altered once booked unless in specific circumstances.

d. Should an employee be allowed to alter a pre booked block of leave, this may count towards the 3 bookings they are allowed.

e. All block of leave must end before the child’s first birthday, or anniversary date of their placement.

4. How much does the employee get paid during leave?

How much does the employee get paid during leave?

a. Between the two, employees are entitled to 39 weeks pay

b. The first 2 weeks will be paid to the mother as part of their compulsory leave period; the other 37 will be shared.

c. Pay will be in the same way as maternity leave, 90% of the gross weekly pay for the first 6 weeks, and the rest at the statutory rate. Again as an employer you may pay more as part of a pre existing policy.

5. What does the employer have to do prior to returning to work?

What does the employer have to do prior to returning to work?

a. Employees should return to work on the next working day after the stated end date of their block of SPL.

b. If the employee cannot return due to sickness, your usual sickness leave policy would come into force.

c. The employee is entitled to return to the same position, with all benefits that existing prior to their period of leave.

d. If the employee chooses not to return to work, they must notify you in writing of their intention to resign.

e. Should the employee seek flexible working on their return, this should be dealt with as per your pre existing flexible working policy.


Published: 14 Apr 2015


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(cAse SeNSItivE!)

glong229 (21/04/2015)
I am delighted to see the Government really are trying to screw businesses....soon we might as well close up

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