Nearly 50% of SMEs ‘unsure about shared parental leave’
Many small businesses are unsure about how to deal with shared parental leave (SPL) according to a survey reported in The Times newspaper.
Half of the 400 firms polled said they didn’t understand the legislation and how it would work.
A further 17% said they were worried about the effect the new rights would have on their business.
The new system of SPL came into effect on 5 April and allows parents to share 52 weeks’ leave. It also applies to couples who adopt a child.
Mothers are still required to take two weeks’ compulsory leave immediately after the birth, but the other 50 weeks can be shared between both parents. They can choose whether to take their leave simultaneously or take turns, or a mixture of the two, but the leave must be taken in complete weeks.
Parents can take their leave in a continuous period but would have to negotiate with their employer if they wish to take leave in discontinuous periods. The employer doesn’t have to agree to a discontinuous leave period.
To qualify for SPL, a parent must have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC). They must also give sufficient notice to their employer.
The other parent must have worked for 26 of the 66 weeks prior to EWC and earned a minimum of £30 in at least 13 of those weeks.
An estimated 285,000 couples a year are expected to benefit from the new system so the impact on businesses is likely to be substantial. Employers may wish to review their employment policies to ensure they don’t breach the new regulations.
Please contact John Carter for more information about Shared Parental Leave or any aspect of employment law.