Many people will have noted the change in Parental Leave earlier this month, which allows greater flexibility between couples as to how they distribute the statutory entitlement to time off after the birth of a child.
Less widely known however is that at the same time, commissioning couples having a child through surrogacy were also granted statutory leave for the first time, marking a long called-for change in the law.
Until the change, only the surrogate mother could claim maternity leave, which created difficulties for some parents who wished to be able to enjoy extended periods at home with their baby after the birth.
The change means that parents who have a baby through surrogacy are now entitled to equivalent maternity and paternity allowances as other parents. In addition, there is provision for some time off during the pregnancy for attendance at medical appointments.
As with maternity, paternity and adoption leave, there are certain notice requirements that parents must give to their employer in order to be entitled to the provisions.
Although surrogacy is now an increasingly common way increasingly common in building families, many of the laws surrounding the arrangements for families involved in surrogacy arrangements are still playing catch-up and in need of reform.
Hopefully this significant step forward is the first in a line which makes such arrangements more straightforward for all involved.
If you want to read more on the recent law changes see this blog on Shared Parental Leave.
Cara Nuttall is a Senior Family Law Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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