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Top Tips for New Parents Taking Shared Parental Leave

By Solicitor, Employment

If you have just had, or are about to have, a baby or adopt, you might want to take advantage of the Shared Parental Leave scheme which applies to babies born or adopted on or after 5 April 2015.

The Shared Parental Leave scheme allows parents to share 50 weeks leave from work in the year following the birth or adoption of a child. This means that qualifying parents can now share the responsibility of caring for a new child.

5 Top Tips for New Parents Planning on Taking Shared Parental Leave

  1. Consider your personal circumstances – Is Shared Parental Leave a realistic and viable option for you and your family? Can you afford to take Shared Parental Leave? The prospect of Shared Parental Leave poses a variety of questions for new parents to take into account before applying for it. You should consider the practicalities and the realities of taking Shared Parental Leave.

  2. Talk to your partner – Does your partner agree to you going back to work whilst they are the main carer for your child? Consider whether you want to take time off together, or at separate times or a mixture of both. You should discuss these issues with your partner before approaching your respective employers.

  3. Check your eligibility for SPL – You and your partner or child’s other parent, including adopting parents, must meet the following criteria:

    • By the end of the 15th week before the baby’s due date (or placement date for an adopted child) you must have been in continuous employment by your employer for 26 weeks or more.
    • Your partner must have been working for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the baby’s due or placement date.
    • You must continue to be employed by the same employer in the first week that the Shared Parental Leave starts. 

    For more information see our blog explaining Shared Parental Leave in greater detail here.

    Also, Gov.uk has a calculator that may help you to work out your eligibility.

  4. Talk to your Employer – It is always advisable to have a discussion about your plans with your employer. You should do this sooner rather than later. By doing this, you can assess what the likelihood is of you being granted your request. Remember, you must give your employer at least 8 weeks’ notice of your intention to take Shared Parental Leave. Also note that your employer is obliged to grant a request for continuous leave but does not have to grant a request for discontinuous leave. You should also check if your employer offers an enhanced package, above the statutory entitlements, and if so, what your enhanced entitlements would be.

  5. Inform yourself – Obtain as much information as possible regarding Shared Parental Leave, the various notices you are required to give, and the implications of taking it. ACAS and gov.uk have prepared useful guidance for employees wishing to take Shared Parental Leave.  Also, crucially, check your employer’s policy on Shared Parental Leave. You should think carefully about whether the family would be financially better off with the mother taking maternity leave instead. Shared Parental Leave Pay is paid at the rate of £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. 

       

If you would like legal advice on employment law issues such as Shared Parental Leave, contact our expert employment lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you.

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