1 December 2014 was the start date for the introduction of Shared Parental Leave, three words which could well usher in a host of complications as employers seek to maintain the staff cover needed while meeting all the requirements of this piece of legislation.
Let’s try and summarise the main issues:
- It embraces all babies born on or after 1 April 2015, and the rate at which this has to be paid is currently £138.18 a week or 90% of your employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.
- Employees may also be entitled to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if they adopt a child on or after 5 April 2015.
- Until 4 April 2015 fathers may get Additional Paternity Leave and Pay instead of Shared Parental Leave.
- To qualify for Shared Parental Leave, the employee concerned must share care of the child with either: their husband, wife, civil partner or joint adopter, the child’s other parent, their partner if they live with the employee and the child.
- The employee or their partner must be eligible for maternity pay or leave or Maternity Allowance or adoption pay or leave.
- They must also have been employed continuously by you for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date (or by the date they are matched with their adopted child) and in your employ while they take SPL.
There are also conditions attached to the right of their partner to claim Shared Parental Pay, but that is unlikely to affect you, unless both parties are in your employment.
Statutory Shared Parental Pay
The mother will also qualify for ShPP if one of the following applies: that they qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Leave, that they qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay and have a partner who qualifies for Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay.
Perhaps you don’t need to know all of this, but at least you will be aware that there are many aspects to consider, and if you are approached on this subject you can refer directly to the web page www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/overview. As always, we recommend taking professional advice before any actions.