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Shared Parental Leave


On the 1st December 2014 the new Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 came into force. These regulations provide for employees who are parents to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in the first year of their child’s life or if adopted, from the date of placement.

The new scheme will be available in respect of children whose expected week of childbirth/adoptive placement, begins on or after the 5th April 2015.

The purpose of the new regulations is to allow more flexibility for parents to care for their child in their first year. To assist, the regulations allow parents to request split periods of leave i.e. to stagger their leave entitlements throughout the year and they can also take periods of leave together.

We set out below some of the key provisions of the regulations.

Who will be eligible for SPL?

  • The child’s mother provided she shares the main responsibility for the care of the child with the child’s father (or her partner, if the father is not her partner)
  • The child’s father provided he shares the main responsibility for the care of the child with the child’s mother; or
  • The mother’s partner provided he shares the main responsibility for the care of the child with the mother (where the child’s father does not share the main responsibility with the mother)

    The employee must also be able to satisfy the following:-

  • That they have at least 26 weeks continuous employment by the end of the Qualifying Week (the 15th week before the expected week of birth/placement) to include the week before the leave is to be taken
  • The other parent must have worked at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the expected week of birth/placement and have average weekly earnings of at least £30 during 13 of those weeks; and
  • Both parents must give the necessary statutory notices and declaration to include notice to end any maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance

How much Shared Parental Leave & Pay are employee entitled to

The total amount of SPL available is 52 weeks, less the weeks spent by the mother on maternity leave.

The total amount of Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is 39 weeks, less the weeks mother receives Statutory Maternity Pay

A mother cannot begin any period of SPL until she has completed the compulsory maternity leave period which is 2 weeks after birth or 4 weeks after birth for factory workers.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is paid at the rate of £138.18 or 90% of normal pay whichever is lesser, and it is likely therefore that for those mothers who earn more than £138.18 per week during their employment, they will not switch to Shared Parental Leave and Pay until after their 6th week of Maternity Leave, as, during the first 6 weeks of Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay is paid at the rate of 90% of their normal pay.

Splitting Shared Parental Leave

A mother could end her Maternity Leave after 6 weeks leaving 46 weeks of Shared Parental Leave available. If both the mother and her partner are eligible, they can then share the 46 weeks leave between them. Note that the parents can take their leave separately or at the same time.

Please also note that, if eligible for Shared Parental Leave, the Partner can begin their SPL during the mother’s Maternity Leave.

Blocks of Leave

Blocks of leave can be continuous and/or discontinuous. An employee has the right to submit three notification requests specifying leave periods they are intending to take.

Continuous leave

Notification of continuous leave means a number of weeks taken in a single unbroken period.
* A mother could provide you with notice that she intends to take 12 weeks of Shared Parental Leave at the end of her 6 weeks Maternity Leave

Discontinuous leave

Notification of discontinuous leave may contain a request for two or more periods of discontinuous leave which means asking for a set number of weeks of leave over a period of time with breaks between the leave where the employee returns to work,
* A mother could work every other week during a 12 week block, therefore using 6 weeks of Shared Parental Leave.

You cannot turn down a request for continuous leave if the employee is eligible and gives you the right notice. You do not however have to agree to the shorter discontinuous leave periods.

Notice

An employee is required to provide you with the following notice:
  • 8 weeks notice to begin Maternity Leave & Pay
  • 8 weeks curtailment notice to end Maternity Leave & Pay
  • 8 weeks notice to begin Shared Parental Leave & Pay
The employee must provide you with the following information:-
  • Their partner’s name
  • Maternity leave start and end date
  • The total amount of Shared Parental Leave and Pay available and how much they and their partner intend to take
  • That they are sharing childcare responsibility with their partner
The notice must also include a signed declaration from the partner saying:-
  • Their name, address and National Insurance Number
  • That they satisfy the qualifying requirements for your employee to take Shared Parental Leave and Pay
  • That they agree to your employee taking Shared Parental Leave and Pay
After receiving this information you can within 14 days, request a copy of the child’s birth certificate and the name and address of their partner’s employer

Shared Keep in Touch Days (KIT)

You will be aware that when on Maternity Leave, a Mother has 10 “keep in touch” days that she can request.

While on SPL an employee may work for up to 20 shared keep in touch days without bringing their leave to an end. This is in addition to any KIT days taken during maternity leave.

Pay during KIT days is usually normal basic pay.

It would be prudent to review your company policies and procedures in respect of maternity and paternity entitlement to incorporate shared parental leave.

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The professional rules relating to solicitors' firms, including the Code of Conduct can be accessed on the website of the Solicitors Regulation Authority at www.sra.org.uk

Allington Hughes Law is a trading name of Allington Hughes Limited. Registered office is 10 Grosvenor Road, Wrexham LL11 1SD

Registered in England and Wales. Company registration number 07831162.

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 597867

V.A.T. registration number 166 8213 93