Q. How does shared parental leave affect my business?

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Richard Gregory

Consultant Solicitor

Phone 01264 353411

Email rgregory@bsandi.co.uk

A. Due to a change in the law which came into effect on 5th April 2015, parents can now share their leave from work to care for a child for up to a year after their birth or adoption. This can create some difficulties for you in the workplace as the parental leave can be taken in one block or split into periods of time, with your employee coming back into the workplace in between.

You can immediately see that this could cause some administrative headaches, along with trying to juggle the inevitable resourcing problems caused and with a period of only two months’ notice required by law, you could find yourself with an immediate issue.

Maternity rights for the mother are still in place and at the very least, she will have to take two weeks off after the birth of her baby but shared parental leave has been designed so that mothers may be able to share the responsibility with their partners and get back to work sooner. A mother could choose to end her maternity leave early and swap it for shared parental leave.

To qualify for shared parental leave, the mother must be entitled to maternity or adoption leave and meet the continuous employment test. This is that they must have been an employee and have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due. The other parent needs to meet the employment and earnings test – this says they need to have worked for at least 26 out of 66 weeks before the due date and earned more than £30 a week in 13 of the 66 weeks.

The operation of the rules is complex and there is a lot of detail.  You can see that this new entitlement could cause real problems for your business and if you would like to talk to a specialist employment law solicitor about what you should put in your Parental Leave policy, call our Andover based expert solicitor Richard Gregory now on 01264 325811 or email him on rgregory@bsandi.co.uk for immediate help and advice.

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