The twin rights to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (SPP) were born in December 2014 and have been crying for attention ever since! Babies born on or after 5 April 2015 can look forward to having both parents share their care until their first birthday. Eligible working parents can look forward to more choice over how to share their baby’s care. Employers have little to look forward to.
SPL and SPP will co-exist with Statutory Maternity Leave (SML), Ordinary Paternity Leave (OPL), Unpaid Parental Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Maternity Allowance (MA) and replace Additional Paternity Leave and Pay. Hats off to anyone who has an encyclopaedic knowledge at their fingertips of the associated entitlements, eligibility criteria and notification requirements of each. With the advent of SPL and SPP the administrative headache really begins.
Mothers will be able to volunteer to end their SML and SMP/MA and opt-in to SPL and SSP. Any untaken weeks of SML (up to a maximum of 50) and SMP (up to a maximum of 37) can then be shared with the baby’s father or her partner. Eligible fathers and partners will be able to request more leave from work in the first year following their baby’s birth where there is a pool of SPL to be shared. Leave taken by one parent will reduce the pool available to the other parent.
Once a mother entitled to SML or SMP/MA has opted to curtail them, both parents sharing primary responsibility for baby will be entitled to SPL if they satisfy the ‘continuity of employment test’ and their partner satisfies the ‘employment and earnings test’. Employee SPP entitlement requires the additional factor of meeting the lower earnings threshold.
Eligible parents will be able take their leave together or independently; in a single continuous block or with time back at work between shorter blocks of leave. Where both parents qualify, they will need to decide how to divide up their leave and pay entitlements.
Employees must give at least 8 weeks’ notice before each block of leave. A maximum of 3 notices per parent can be given.
If you would like to know more about the new SPL/SPP regime book onto our specialist Employment Law Seminar in Harrogate on Wednesday, 18 March 2015. The Seminar will include:
• The mechanics of the new rights;
• The finer points of determining eligibility;
• A step-by-step guide to notification requirements;
• Detriment, discrimination and dismissal: avoiding the pitfalls;
• FAQs and case scenarios;
• Reviewing and updating Policies and Handbooks.
For more information please contact Deborah Boylan Head of the Employment Unit by telephone 01423 566666 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org