On 29 November 2013, the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills released its response to the “Consultation on the Administration of Shared Parental Leave and Pay.”
From April 2015, mothers and fathers will be able to share up to 52 weeks’ leave and 39 weeks’ pay. This will allow a couple to take leave either simultaneously, one after the other or permit one partner to take the balance of leave after the expiry of compulsory maternity leave.
Many employers fear the new system will increase the administrative burden as an agreed pattern of leave will have to be agreed between not only with their employees but also between the two separate employers. Following the response to the consultation, several changes have been introduced:
- Employees will have to give notice of shared parental leave by 15 weeks before the expected week of child-birth (or adoption);
- Employees will have to give at least eight weeks’ notice of each period of leave they will actually be taking;
- Employees can notify employers of intention to take shared parental leave and amend this arrangement a maximum of two further occasions;
- To ensure they can remain on maternity leave if they choose to, mothers can revoke otherwise binding notice to opt into shared parental leave up to six weeks following birth;
- Each employee may take up to 20 Keeping In Touch (KIP) days during a period of shared parental leave;
- An employee whose shared parental leave totals 26 weeks or less has a right to return to the same job;
- An employee who takes shared parental leave in excess of 26 weeks shall have the right to return to the same job, or if that is not reasonably practicable , a similar job;
- Couples must take their entitlement to shared parental leave not later than 52 weeks from date of birth or adoption.
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