Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is a new family friendly scheme enabling working parents to share the care of their child. Parents whose baby’s expected week of childbirth begins on or after or whose child is placed with them for adoption on or after 5 April 2015 may be eligible. From late December onwards, employers can expect to receive notice from eligible employees intending to take SPL and so will need to get up to speed with the changes.
We do not know the likely take up of the scheme although a recent survey revealed that of 250 employees asked, “63% were interested or very interested in taking up SPL”.
Pregnant female employees may still choose to take maternity leave but they and their partners can opt for SPL instead, the key features of which include:
- The first two weeks of Compulsory Maternity Leave will remain, but up to 50 weeks’ thereafter can be taken as SPL and up to 37 weeks’ Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) can be shared between eligible parents.
- ShPP is the lower of 90% of pay or £138.18 per week
- Employees must give 8 weeks’ notice of taking SPL and comply with requirements to provide prescribed information and declarations to their respective employer.
- Both parents can take SPL together or separately, as long as they don’t take more than the total leave which is jointly available
- SPL can be taken in up to three continuous blocks of not less than one week each. By agreement with their employer, employees can take discontinuous periods of SPL e.g. by splitting a 12 week block into alternate weeks of SPL and working.
- The new rules allow each parent on SPL to carry out work or training for their employer, without bringing the SPL to an end, in up to 20 ‘Shared Parental Leave In Touch Days’ (SPLIT) just as employees on maternity leave can take up to 10 KIT Days.
How do I ensure my company is legally compliant?
The employment team have prepared an HR toolkit to assist employers including:
- Policies on shared parental leave, maternity leave, adoption leave, parental leave, paternity leave and on time off for ante natal appointments;
- Standard Notice forms for employees to complete giving the required SPL information and
- Inhouse training on SPL (and if required) the other changes affecting family friendly leave;
- We can also deal with any ad hoc queries you may have such as whether to pay enhanced ShPP.
Please contact your usual adviser in the team if you have any queries on this or any other employment law matter. Click here to meet the team.