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New rules: Employers can expect requests for new shared parental leave from December

Applications for shared parental leave will start during December 2014 and employers are advised to start planning now for the new rules.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert – September 2014

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

New mothers can currently take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave in total, including 26 weeks' Additional Maternity Leave, but fathers are only entitled to 1 or 2 weeks' ordinary leave and to take up to 26 weeks of additional leave only if the mother has returned to work and other criteria satisfied.

The Government's proposed new rules will allow a mother and father to divide up to 50 weeks' shared parental leave between them, and 37 weeks' pay.

The timings mean parents could qualify for shared parental leave from December 2014 if their child is due on 5 April 2015 but born prematurely. The provisions include allowing employers to require employees to take leave in a single continuous block.

Employers can prepare by creating shared parental leave policies, including:

  • provisions for enhanced pay and return to work bonuses;
  • systems to stop abuse, such as asking for evidence of eligibility and checking leave taken, and the disciplinary consequences if there is abuse;
  • handling requests for discontinuous leave fairly, to avoid discrimination claims.

Operative date
1 December 2014

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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