5 April 2015 - Shared Parental Leave (SPL)
One of the most significant changes being introduced this year will be the new system of SPL, which will apply to births and adoptions from 5 April 2015 onwards and replace the current additional paternity leave regime.
Employed mothers will still be legally entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and 39 weeks’ maternity pay (or allowance, as appropriate). However, the new SPL regime will allow parents to share part of the leave available to the mother or primary adopter of the child (up to 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ pay).
Mothers will still have to take two compulsory weeks’ leave following the birth of their child, but can then opt to bring their maternity leave to an end, with the parents then sharing the remaining leave on a more flexible basis.
Given the complexities arising from the new scheme, we will be devoting a separate update to this topic in the coming weeks.
Not to be confused with SPL (above), Parental Leave has been in force for some time and has allowed parents with at least one year’s service to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave before a child’s 5th birthday (or before the child’s 18th birthday if the child is disabled).
From 5 April 2015 onwards, the period of entitlement will be extended to allow 18 weeks’ unpaid leave to be taken by qualifying employees before a child’s 18th birthday in all cases and not just those where the child is disabled.
There will also be a new right introduced for employees proposing to adopt a child to take time off to attend up to five adoption appointments. The time off must be paid where the employee is adopting the child on their own.
If the employee is adopting jointly, then one of the parents may elect to receive the time off as paid and the other will be entitled to take unpaid leave for up to two appointments.
A maximum of six and a half hours will be allowed for each appointment in all cases.
We would be delighted to work with you to provide advice on the forthcoming changes and to ensure that your company policies and practices are fully compliant with both current and future employment law developments. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can help.