Shared Parental Leave – Coming sooner than you think!
Hot on the heals of the change to the Flexible Working Regs, the next tranche of legislation aimed at encouraging “family friendly” policies comes into effect on 1st October 2014 and will apply to mothers giving birth after 5th April 2015.
So why should employers be bothered now as April 2015 is ages away isn’t it. We’ve got the rest of summer, autumn, winter and into another spring to go haven’t we.
Well. although science was not always my best subject at school, like all school boys, particular attention was paid during biology lessons and if my memory serves me right, counting back from April 5th 2015 means that it will affect women who fall pregnant in August/September time. So that’s………… yes next month.
An employer could have an employee coming to them next month, informing them that they are pregnant and the new legislation will apply to them and they will expect their employer to know about it.
They key dates are:
August/Sept – Employee informs employer that they are pregnant
October 1st – Fathers/Partners entitled to time off to attend 2 antenatal classes
21st Dec – Employee must inform employer they are pregnant
18th Jan – Earliest Mat leave date for women who want Shared Parental Leave
8th Feb – First Curtailment notices sent
5th April 2015 – Shared Parental Leave applies to babies born (and adoptions) after this date.
18th April 2015 – End of 2 weeks Compulsory Maternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave could begin.
As you can see from these dates, employers should be planning sooner rather than later for this legislation and although the take up may not be huge, in reality it is estimated that take up could be between 2-8%.
So what does it mean? in a nutshell, if both partners have at least 26 weeks service at the end of 15th week before the baby is expected, they are eligible if they have or expect to have the main responsibility for the care of the child. Also the mother should have curtailed (new word which you will hear more of) her Statutory Maternity Leave.
Parents can then share SPL (Shared Parental Leave) one after another in a continuous block (e.g. 25 weeks each one following the other), or take it together (25 weeks at the same time) or in several blocks of at least a week.
There are of course statutory notice requirements but employers may have to rely on the honesty of their employees or request permission to get the relevant data from the partners employer which may be an issue.
Also, SMP is still paid, 37 weeks is available to share. Employees will be allowed to work 20 KIT days and contractual and statutory leave will continue to accrue during SPL.
This is only a snapshot of what will be in the legislation. As ever we are still awaiting guidance from the Government which may (or may not) make things a little clearer. They have helpfully said it will be available in the summer. It is now summer and it isn’t.
Should any company want any further help on this I am more than happy to oblige so please contact me.
I would like to acknowledge and thank Louise Bloomfield at DACbeachcroft for the detail provided here.