It seems like everyone I speak with is confused about this new government initiative. It looks so simple on the surface, with clear benefits. Yet scratch away at the idea and it suddenly begins to grow in complexity, particularly this issue of how businesses will actually implement and plan for Shared Parental Leave in their day-to-day work. In this update, I have tried to tackle the complexity and reduce it into simple, hopefully straightforward, bullet points to help you with your own understanding. Next week I plan to go a bit further and provide guidance on eligibility requirement for Shared Parental Leave and how it will work in practice for employers.
What is it?
- Eligible employees can take advantage of this if they are parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.
- Both parents can benefit from this to enable them to share caring responsibilities of their children.
How does it work?
- The amount of leave available is based on the mother’s entitlement to maternity or adoption leave which allows them to take up 52 weeks leave.
- If the mother decides not to take the full 52 weeks leave then they and/or their partner may opt-in to the Shared Parental Leave system and take the remaining weeks as Shared Parental Leave.
- An advantage is that eligible employees can stop and start their Shared Parental Leave and return to work between periods of leave, however, leave must be taken in multiple of weeks. Up to three requests for Shared Parental Leave can be made by an employee.
- The mother can only share her leave with one other person.
- Employees must notify his or her employer of their entitlement and must book the leave they wish to take giving their employer a period of leave notice at least eight weeks before the leave is due to start.
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