New laws have recently come into effect in mainland Britain, which allows couples to divide almost all of the traditional maternity leave entitlement between them.
Effectively, they have a year to take, apart from the compulsory two-week recovery period after childbirth with a mother must take, and can divide them between them in any combination.
Both parents can take time off at the same time, and the time off doesn’t have to be taken in a single block.
When does it come into effect?
Although the law came into effect on December 1, 2014, it only applies to babies due at the beginning of April 2015 or later, however, if the baby arrives early the shared leave entitlement will apply.
What will they be paid?
The previous right to statutory maternity pay will be transferred to shared parental leave. Mothers currently receive 90% of their normal salary for the first six weeks and then a statutory £138 per week for the next 33 weeks. Fathers will be paid a share of the money depending on how much time they choose to take off.
Can an employer refuse the request?
Employees may request three periods of leave, and as mentioned earlier, can take this as a continuous or discontinuous period. When an eligible employee give eight weeks’ notice that they intend to take a continuous period of leave, there is no discretion available – the employer must accept the request. If the request if for discontinuous leave, the employer has 14 calendar days in which to consider the request and decided whether or not it can be accommodated.
What happens to maternity/adoption/paternity leave?
Parents will remain entitled to take maternity, paternity, and adoption leave. However, an eligible mother or adopter may now choose to reduce their maternity/adoption leave early and opt into Shared Parental Leave. The mother can only share her leave with one person.
Who is eligible for it?
To qualify for Shared Parental Leave, the employee 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 them and the child)
They 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 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)
- be employed by the same employer while you take Shared Parental Leave
During the 66 weeks before the baby is due, the partner must;
- have been working for at least 26 weeks (they don’t need to be in a row)
- have earned at least £30 a week on average in 13 of the 66 weeks
They can be employed, self-employed or an agency worker.