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Is your Employer ready for Shared Parental Leave?

Do you work for a small company? Are they ready for the changes in Shared Parental Leave?

Research reveals that small businesses are still unprepared for Shared Parental Leave requests now that the change in maternity and paternity law has been applied. This will naturally leave working parents concerned.

Shared Parental Leave is the new form of leave which applies to babies due, born or adopted on or after the 5th April 2015. In addition to two weeks of compulsory maternity and ordinary paternity leave it allows parents to share 50 weeks of leave per child following their birth or adoption placement. Parents can take the Shared Parental Leave separately or together providing that the total period of leave doesn’t exceed 50 weeks.

The scheme aims to make it more acceptable for both men and women to take periods of time away from work to focus on childcare following birth or adoption. While many prospective parents may be keen to take up Shared Parental Leave, how well are small employers prepared for the changes?

Only 14% of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have said they fully support the regulation changes and more than a third of small businesses have admitted that they were not ready to implement the scheme. A recent Slater and Gordon survey of 500 British SMEs revealed that one in five businesses were putting off preparing for Shared Parental Leave until an employee requests it.

If you work for a small business, you have the legal right to apply for Shared Parental Leave if by the 15th week before the due date one parent has been employed continuously for at least 26 weeks and the other has worked for 26 or more of the 66 weeks before you are due.

You are protected by law so that you cannot be penalised for taking this Shared Parental Leave and if you are treated unfairly you could make a claim against your employer.

Slater and Gordon Employment Lawyer Kiran Daurka said, “It is vital that employers and employees both get behind the plans and make sure they know what the new maternity and paternity rules are. Dads need to be made aware of this new right and feel secure that their employer will support them when taking leave.”

To learn more read our blogs Shared Parental Leave launches from 5th April 2015 and What is Discontinuous Leave?

Slater and Gordon Employment Solicitors provide expert legal advice on family rights and discrimination. If you or your partner have been subjected to detriment or dismissal for requesting or taking Shared Parental Leave call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you.

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