Shared Parental Leave
New legislation came into force on 5th April 2015 that allows working parents far greater choice as to how they share the care of their child and take time off work during the first year of their child’s life. The rules apply equally for children that have been adopted.
Under the new rules, mothers will still take at least two weeks of maternity leave immediately after birth, but after that working couples can share up to 50 weeks of shared parental leave and up to 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay.
These new rules will give families greater choice over how they arrange childcare in the first year of their child’s life by allowing working mothers the option to end their maternity pay/leave early and return to work by sharing leave and pay with their partner.
Parents will be able to choose to be at home together or to work at different times and share the care of their child during the critical first year. This means that parents are now able to take their leave simultaneously so that they can spend time at home together with their child or they could opt to take it in phases, for example 20 weeks for the mother/adopter, followed by 20 weeks for the father/partner, followed by 10 weeks for the mother/adopter. So it may be the case that statutory parental pay is paid over one or two discontinuous periods.
If the baby was born early, parents will still be eligible for shared parental leave if the due date was on or after 5th April 2015.
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