Shared Parental Leave
Prospective parents who are expecting children from April 2015 will be able to take advantage of changes to the parental leave system which are intended to provide parents with much greater flexibility in how they ‘mix and match’ the care of their child in its first year.
• Mothers will still have the day one right to 52 weeks of maternity leave and ordinary paternity leave will still remain. However, mothers will be able to opt to end their maternity leave any time after two weeks following the birth and share the remaining parental leave with the child’s father or her partner.
• Shared parental leave will be able to be taken by the parents either in turns or together, provided that they take no more than 52 weeks in total. Employers will be given the right, however, to require employees to take leave in a single period, rather than in shorter non-consecutive periods.
• If parents choose to use shared parental leave, they will be entitled to a new statutory payment which has the same qualifying requirements as currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity leave.
• Certain adopters and parents in surrogacy agreements will also be entitled to use the new system for shared parental leave and pay.
So what’s the overall aim? Well, Jo Swinson, the employment relations minister hopes this change will help to drive a culture change in workplaces across the UK where it is “just as normal for fathers to take on childcare responsibilities as mothers”. The new rules will allow mothers and adopters to “have real choice” about when they go back to work, while fathers will have “more time to bond with their children”.
The changes have been hailed by Brendan Barber, chair of ACAS, who said many employers believe offering a flexible approach to work can help them keep hold of talented staff, while providing a healthy work-life balance “can help business success and growth” and the workforce to be more flexible and motivated.
Employers should update their various parental rights policies to reflect the new rights. If and when an employee decides to share their maternity leave there will, no doubt, be greater administration to deal with, especially with regards to the various notifications and requests which need to be given and received at different stages of the process. Employers will also need to consider how best to deal with the administration of blocks of leave requested. Furthermore, how they will evaluate and respond to requests for discontinuous patterns of leave and what factors they will take into account.
Finally….National Minimum Wage Increase
Please see full details of the new rates by looking at our comprehensive Facts and Figures link on our website. Click here https://www.mundays.co.uk/what-we-do/employment-employers/