Shared parental leave and your staff: what you need to know
Major change in statutory absence rules for parents of new children poses several crucial points for bosses to consider
As we have shown in our recent articles here and here, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is one of the hottest topics in the management field – and the game is about to change in a matter of weeks. From 5 April, SPL will be available to parents of babies due (or adopted) on, or after, that date. The watershed presents bosses with a number of important points to consider when thinking about how the new rules will affect availability of talent, once employees start taking advantage of the measures.
With that in mind, here are the essential SPL facts that managers need to know:
1. Employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. If they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early (after the first two weeks after the baby’s birth), and share any remaining parental leave with her partner.
2. However, unlike maternity leave, employees don’t have to take all of their Shared Parental Leave at the same time. They are entitled to take it in up to three blocks (each block must be a minimum of a week) and return to work in between. As an employer, you can agree to more if you wish.
3. SPL gives both employees and employers greater flexibility. For example, the option to stop and start leave and return to work in between means that employees have the option to return to work for a particular project, if they wish.
4. 50 weeks of shared leave and 37 weeks of pay can be taken after the child’s birth and before the child’s first birthday. In a similar way to statutory maternity pay, SPL pay will be refunded to employers.
5. New mothers must take at least two weeks off work following their child’s birth. Their partners can still take two weeks paternity leave after the birth, and SPL would usually begin after this.
6. Both employees need to give their employers at least eight weeks’ notice if they wish to take Shared Parental Leave.
7. Shared Parental Leave may be taken at any time up to 52 weeks after a child is born.
8. Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to Shared Parental leave and pay.