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Shared Parental Leave……………
Shared Parental Leave took full effect on 5 April 2015. The new regulations enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption. This could involve returning to work for part of the time and then taking leave at a later date. Employees must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for Shared Parental leave;
- They must have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the baby is due (or if adopting at the week in which an adopter was notified of having been matched with a child for adoption) and must still be employed in the first week that Shared Parental Leave is to be taken.
- They must satisfy the Employment & Earnings Test which means that the other parent must have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date and have earned above the maternity allowance threshold of £30 week in 13 of the 66 weeks.
Shared Parental Leave offers parents more flexibility to share the responsibilities of having a child and leave can be taken at any time within the first year of the child being born.
A maximum of 52 weeks leave (less any maternity leave already taken) can be taken in separate blocks (up to three a year) and can be in a continuous period or a discontinuous period. Employers will not be able to refuse an application for continuous leave but can refuse, or negotiate, an application for a discontinuous period of leave.
Each parent taking Shared Parental Leave is also entitled to a maximum of 20 Shared Parental Leave in Touch days (similar to Keep in Touch days).
Parents taking Shared Parental Leave will be entitled to Statutory Shared Parental Pay – payment will only be payable to one parent at a time. If the mother cuts short her maternity leave and returns to work the father can apply for Shared Parental Pay for the remaining weeks.
There is a lot more detail & it’s advisable that employers develop a robust policy and talk to their staff about the options regarding Shared Parental Leave. Having an early and informal discussion can provide an opportunity for both the employee and employer to talk about how they want to use the Shared Parental Leave and how this might be best accommodated by the Company.
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