Shared Parental Leave

New legislation came into force on 1 December 2014 regarding the statutory pay and leave entitlements available to employed parents. The changes will afford couples greater flexibility and give women the option to end their maternity leave early if they would prefer to share it with their partner. After a compulsory two week recovery period for the birth mother, 50 weeks Shared Parental Leave and 37 weeks’ pay is available to eligible parents of babies due on or after 5 April 2015.

This leave can be split in up to three separate blocks instead of taking it all in one go, as long as it is taken before the child’s first birthday. The same rules also apply to couples matched or placed for adoption. However, the government has allowed individual employers to decide whether to extend enhanced maternity pay to all new parents taking shared parental leave.

The government has said that at least 285,000 working couples would be eligible to share leave under the new rules. If both parents are eligible, the leave can be taken at different times, or even both at the same time. We all know how much of a handful newborns can be!

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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