This article follows on from my previous update covering ‘Navigating Shared Parental Leave.’ Here is a link to that article: https://hr-24.co.uk/professional-insights/navigating-shared-parental-leave/
Qualification and Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for Shared Parental Leave, a parent must satisfy the following criteria. Please note that if only one parent is eligible, Shared Parental Leave cannot be shared.
They must have been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks by:
- the end of the 15th week before the child’s due date, or
- the week of the adoption placement, and remain employment until the week before any period of Shared Parental Leave is due to start
They must share the main responsibility for the care of the child with the other parent.
The other parent also needs to satisfy an employment and earnings test by:
- have been working for at least 26 weeks as an employee, self-employed individual or worker for at least 26 weeks of the period of 66 weeks leading up to the due date of childbirth or placement for adoption, and
- have an average weekly earnings of not less than £30 per week in 13 of those 66 weeks.
Eligibility for Shared Parental Pay
To qualify for Shared Parental Pay, the employee must meet the qualifying requirements and have a partner who meets the employment and earnings test; and have earned not less than the lower earnings limit (currently £111 per week) for the eight weeks up to
- The end of the 15th week before the child’s due date, or
- The week of the placement for adoption
The Reality for employers
- Employees already benefit form a number of family friendly rights, which can be difficult for employers to manage. Shared Parental Leave is another right that has been added to this pot.
- It must be noted that this is not an easy regulation to understand and it is advised that employers take advice upon receipt of a request for Shared Parental Leave.
- As it applies to parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, employers may already start to receive requests from eligible parents now, so it is important to be prepared and to have a source for advice in place.
- Employers may wish look into reviewing and updating their policies and procedures and putting an appropriate policy in place for Shared Parental Leave. Although legally, this is not necessary as you will be making employees aware of yet another right, it would be considered as being best practice. My personal advice on this would be to keep any policies brief so that you are not giving too much away in terms of what the new regulations actually allow.
- The aim of the regulation is to create flexibility for employees, however, this could be argued as being a double edged saw for employers as inevitably, employees taking advantage of Shared Parental Leave will create less certainty for employers and difficulties in recruiting temporary replacements for employees taking several blocks of leave.
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