Shared Parental Leave Advice for Employers

By: Maria Holt

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The aim of shared parental leave is to give parents the flexibility to decide who will take time off after a baby is born/adopted, and how much time they will take off. Parents who are expecting a baby from 5th April 2015, or where a child is placed for adoption from this date onwards, may be able to take shared parental leave.

The new scheme means that parents can share leave how they like between them for a maximum period of one year, and this can be taken in discontinuous periods.

Only eligible employees will be able to opt into shared parental leave. Eligibility criteria centre around length of service; and also having a partner who meets the employment and earnings test. Other criteria also apply. An employee will have to declare to their employer both that they, and their partner, qualify to take shared parental leave.

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Shared parental leave enables parents to take either one continuous period of leave, or several discontinuous periods of leave. It is up to employees to tell their employers how they want to take it. Both mother and father can take leave at the same time but it can only be taken in minimum blocks of one week.

Qualifying employees have to give you a Notice of Entitlement if they want to take shared parental leave, and then book in each period of leave. Employers cannot refuse a single continuous block of leave. However, discontinuous periods of leave, when requested at the same time, must be agreed with you.

Both mother and father may take 20 SPLIT days each during shared parental leave – these will work in the same way as KIT days during maternity leave.

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