The Introduction of Shared Parental Leave
New legislation came into force today to implement a new shared parental leave scheme which will apply to all babies who are due, or children who are adopted, on or after 5th April 2015. The scheme will replace additional paternity leave, which will no longer operate from circa April 2016 as it will only apply to children born or adopted on or before 4th April 2015.
Opting in to Shared Parental Leave will allow mothers to end their maternity leave and pay early, and convert the remaining part(s) to shared parental leave/pay. Eligible employees will still be able to take 2 weeks paternity leave following the birth/placement of a child and there will remain 2 weeks of compulsory maternity leave, but the remaining 50 weeks of maternity leave and 37 weeks of maternity pay may be converted to shared parental leave/pay and will be available for both parents to share, either concurrently or consecutively, subject to eligibility requirements.
Employers should familiarise themselves now with the shared parental leave/pay scheme and the notification arrangements which parents expecting children in April 2015 onwards may now wish to utilise. ACAS have published a helpful practice guide which explains the shared parental leave/scheme and how it may be operated in practice. In addition, employers should consider whether their employee handbook adequately deals with the amendments to parental rights from April 2015.