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Shared parental leave – what’s changing?

At the recent Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) Conference, Helen Hargreaves, Senior Policy & Research Officer gave delegates an update on the changes to shared parental leave.

Here we give you an overview of the changes that will take place in 2015.

Shared Parental Leave

What remains unchanged

  • Maternity leave and pay remain unchanged at 52 weeks leave and 39 weeks’ pay (6 weeks paid at 90% of average earnings and 33 weeks paid at the lesser of 90% or the flat rate of £135.45).
  • Paternity leave and pay is unchanged (2 weeks paid at the lesser of 90% of the salary or £135.45).

What’s changed & what’s new

  • Additional paternity leave and pay has been abolished.
  • Statutory adoption leave to become a “day one” right, abolishing the 26 weeks’ continuous employment requirement. Eligible adopters will also be able to take shared parental leave.
  • Statutory adoption leave pay is to mirror statutory maternity pay for the first 6 weeks (90% of average earnings).
  • There is a new right to unpaid time off for fathers to attend up to 2 antenatal appointments.
  • There is a new right to time off for adopters to attend adoption meetings. The primary adopter is entitled to paid time off to attend 5 meetings and the secondary adopter is entitled to unpaid time off to attend 2 meetings.
  • The age limit for unpaid parental leave will be increased from 5 years to 18 years when the full changes on shared parental leave are introduced in 2015.
  • Intended parents in surrogacy cases who qualify for a Parental Order are eligible for time off for up to 2 ante-natal appointments, statutory adoption leave and pay and, if eligible, shared parental leave and pay.
  • Working couples will be able to share leave and pay remaining when a woman ends her maternity leave (or an adopter ends their adoption leave). The amount of pay available will be equivalent to the amount of untaken maternity (or adoption) pay, maternity allowance or adoption pay, which could be up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay (because the women must take 2 weeks). Each parent will need to individually qualify for leave and pay in their own right.

Putting it into practice

  • Each employee can request shared parental leave in patterns of individual blocks of leave. An employer can refuse the pattern requested.
  • The default will be a single block starting on the date of the employee’s choosing.
  • Employees must give 8 weeks notice of their intention to take the leave and set out the pattern they wish to take.

Key dates

  • In March of this year unpaid parental leave increased from 13 weeks to 18 weeks per parent per child.
  • The Royal Assent for shared parental leave is expected in January 2014.
  • Shared parental leave (the changes outlined above) and other changes will be introduced in 2015.
  • 8th October 2013
  • Payroll
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