Shared parental leaveFrom 1st December 2014, the Government’s much-anticipated shared parental leave rights will be introduced to enable working parents to share up to a year’s leave to look after newly born or adopted children.

If any of your employees fit the eligibility criteria, then you can expect them to come to you with any queries soon, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of your responsibilities.

In England, Scotland and Wales, your employees may be entitled to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if:

  • their baby is due on or after 5 April 2015; or
  • they adopt a child on or after 5 April 2015.

To qualify for SPL a mother/primary adopter must:

  • have a partner
  • be entitled to either maternity/adoption leave or to statutory maternity/adoption pay or maternity allowance
  • have curtailed, or given notice to reduce, their maternity/adoption leave or their pay/allowance (if not eligible for maternity/adoption leave)
  • in addition, their partner must satisfy an economic activity test (based on the same work and earnings criteria as for Maternity Allowance)

A parent intending to take SPL must:

  • be an employee
  • share the primary responsibility for the child with the other parent at the time of the birth or adoption placement
  • have properly notified their employer of their entitlement and have provided the necessary declarations and evidence
  • satisfy the ‘continuity of employment test’ and their partner must meet the ‘employment and earnings test’
  • in addition, their partner must satisfy an economic activity test (based on the same work and earnings criteria as for Maternity Allowance)

The parents can choose how much of the leave each of them will take after the mother/primary adopter has taken at least 2 weeks compulsory leave.

In addition, to qualify for ShPP:

  • the employee must have earned above the Lower Earnings Limit in the 8 weeks leading up to and including the 15th week before the child’s due or matching date; and
  • must still be employed with the same employer at the start of the first period of ShPP

Until 4th April 2015, fathers may get Additional Paternity Leave (APL) and Additional Paternity Pay (APP) instead.

If you haven’t done so already, update your policies to cover the new statutory requirements.

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