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Nearly half of mothers would consider shared parental leave

Posted: 1st October 2014   In: Business Employment

Nearly half of all working mothers would consider sharing their parental leave with their partners, according to a recent survey.

The new system of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) allows the mother and father to share 52 weeks of parental leave and comes into effect on 5 April 2015.

Mothers whose Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) is around that date are now past the 12-week stage of their pregnancy and many are starting to plan their parental leave.

The survey by revealed that 44% of working mothers would consider using the scheme – a 3% increase on last year.

The current scheme provides 52 weeks maternity leave. This will remain the default scheme unless parents and employers agree otherwise.

Under the SPL scheme, mothers will still be required to take two weeks compulsory leave immediately after the birth, but the other 50 weeks can be shared between both parents.

Parents can also choose whether to take their leave simultaneously or take turns, or a mixture of the two. 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 EWC. They must also give sufficient notice to their employer.

To qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay a parent must meet the same average earnings threshold as they would for Statutory Maternity Pay.

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.

Employees whose EWC is on or after 5 April 2015 but give birth prematurely may also qualify for SPL from December 2014 onwards.

Parents will be able to take their leave 11 weeks before their EWC, which means some may be eligible to begin the SPL on or after 18 January 2015.

Please contact Jackie Cuneen for more information about Shared Parental Leave or any aspect of employment law.

Posted by: Jackie Cuneen
Luton Office