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Wednesday, 11 December

Bringing Up Baby

Eligible employees will have a new statutory entitlement to shared parental leave and pay from next year that employers must follow. The change as it affects employers is covered in a guide available from the government.

This is technical guidance for employers who think their employee(s) may be eligible for shared parental leave and/or pay.

Where their baby is due on or after 5 April 2015, eligible mothers will be able to volunteer to end their maternity leave and/or pay early to create leave and pay which they can share with the child’s father, or their partner as shared parental leave and pay.

The intention is to allow families more choice over how they look after their children in the first year. Existing rules on maternity and ordinary paternity leave and pay remain the same. Additional paternity leave and pay will be abolished. The arrangements for recovering statutory payments via HMRC for statutory maternity pay and ordinary statutory paternity pay will apply in the same way in respect of statutory shared parental pay.

Shared parental leave means that eligible fathers and partners will be able to request more leave from work in the first year following their child’s birth. As it is shareable, there will also be cases where eligible mothers will return to work early because the child’s father or their partner is taking leave in their place.

Shared parental leave can be taken in discontinuous blocks. This means that eligible parents will also be able to request to mix work with leave in the first year of their child’s life and return to work between periods of leave if they wish.

An eligible employee must inform you at least eight weeks before they plan to take shared parental leave and/or pay. They are also entitled to ask you a further two times to take more leave or to change the pattern of shared parental leave they wish to take, again with 8 weeks’ notice.

 

For a summary of the key points, visit the website: www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-employer-guide.

 

Picture: Shared parental leave for eligible employees comes into effect next year

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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