5 April 2015 marked the start of a new chapter in family-friendly rights in the workplace. As we previously reported, the new shared parental leave scheme applies to employees expecting a baby or adopting a child on or after that date.
Whilst the idea behind shared parental leave is to encourage parents to share child care responsibilities, the new provisions have been criticised as being too complex for both employees and employers, as well as being an administrative burden.
Employees who decide to opt-in to the scheme will need to decide how and when they want to take shared parental leave. They could, for example, potentially both take leave at the same time or take it in turns and they could take leave in one continuous period or in chunks, returning to work in between. Eligible employees will need to navigate their way around lengthy company policies to make sure they comply with their obligations to notify the employer of their intentions to take shared parental leave.
Employers may need to adapt the way their business works to accommodate employees taking shared parental leave, as well as keeping their policies up to date to reflect the new scheme.
It may be some time yet before it is clear what the take up of shared parental leave amongst employees will be. We previously commented on scepticism about the take up of the new scheme. A recent government survey, however, has revealed more positive attitudes towards shared parental leave. For many employees, the decision whether to take shared parental leave is likely to be determined by economic factors; statutory shared parental pay is low, and this is likely to influence how many people can afford to take it.
If you need advice on shared parental leave then we can help. Please call us on 01243 836840 for a no obligation chat or email us at [email protected].
Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.