The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 applies to employees who are due to give birth on, or after the 5th April 2015 and if they choose to share their leave, with their partners as well. Remember, while the rule is based on the baby’s official due date, in reality babies can be born a long time before they are due. So it’s important to get ready now with the right policies and procedures to deal with staff requests. The change broadens the scope of who may take parental leave and when. Under the new system, parents or adopters will be able to intersperse periods of leave and work, or both parents may take leave at the same time. Predominantly male workforces may need to be more flexible in future to deal with the leave patterns allowed by this ruling. And for the first time prospective parents in surrogacy and ‘foster to adopt’ arrangements can also qualify for statutory adoption leave and pay, and shared leave too. The regulations include a set of rules that must be followed in requesting and considering parental leave. Employers have no right to refuse certain leave requests, but parental leave in other circumstances can only be taken with employer approval. For reference, the regulations include the following:
- Eligible employees – mothers, fathers, adopters or their partners will be entitled to shared parental leave and pay in the first year of their child’s life; or first year after placement for adoption.
- Women will continue to be eligible for statutory maternity leave and pay, or maternity allowance. But they must serve notice to end their period of maternity leave and pay, early to share any untaken leave and pay with their partner.
- Under the new system, parents or adopters will be able to intersperse periods of leave and work, or both parents may take leave at the same time. In addition, prospective parents in surrogacy and “foster to adopt” arrangements will become eligible for statutory adoption leave and pay, and for shared parental leave and pay, subject to meeting the relevant qualifying criteria.
- The total amount of shared parental leave that will be available is 52 weeks – the total period of maternity leave – less the compulsory period of maternity leave and any other period of time the mother has spent on maternity leave.
- The rules outline the process employees must follow to request parental leave and the process employers must follow when considering their request.
- Eligible employees have a statutory right to take leave in certain circumstances and the employer has no right to refuse this request. Leave requested in other circumstances can only be taken with the employer’s agreement.
- During shared parental leave employees will continue to be entitled to all their terms and conditions of employment, other than those relating to pay.
- Employees will be protected from any detrimental treatment because they have taken, or tried to take, shared parental leave, or where their employer believed they were likely to do so. Similarly, a dismissal for any such reasons will be automatically unfair.
Worried about how this new rules will impact your business? Get ready for the change now. Trust an expert from Croner to help you manage the impact on your business, then keep you compliant and up to date in the future. For more information call 08000 324088