Employers are reminded that new regulations came into force on 1 December 2014 that make changes to the way in which eligible parents will take leave after the birth or adoption of a child. The new rules apply to couples with babies due on or after 5 April 2015 or children matched or placed for adoption on or after that date.
Shared parental leave (SPL) aims to introduce more flexible, more equal arrangements that will enable mothers to share up to 50 weeks' maternity leave and 37 weeks' pay with their partner so that both parents are able to keep a strong link to their workplace.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has developed an online calculator to help prospective parents work out what their leave and pay entitlements are under the new system. This can be found at www.gov.uk/government/news/calculate-your-leave-and-pay-when-you-have-a-child
Under the new regime, employers must be given eight weeks' notice of the intended pattern of leave.
The way the new system operates is quite complicated. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has produced free guidance for employers and employees, which can be found on its website www.acas.org.uk/.
Employers must be ready to deal with requests for SPL, with a policy in place explaining the changes and setting out the procedures and time limits that apply under the new system.
Adherence to the procedures will ensure that employers handle requests in a consistent manner. In addition, HR and payroll systems will need to be able to deal with the changes.
Contact us for assistance with implementing the new arrangements.