The Government has published the draft Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014, which will bring into force the ability for parents to share leave and pay for babies due on or after 5th April 2015. The Regulations are only in draft and consultation ends today on their content but they currently contain a great deal of detail about the entitlement to shared leave and pay, the mechanics for how it will work and what happens on return from leave.
Once the Regulations have been finalised I will prepare a briefing note on the main changes but in the meantime to wet your appetite as to what is coming, the draft regulations have a number of important changes (which may or not remain after they have been passed) as follows:
- Employees need to have 26 weeks’ continuous service at the 15th week before the expected week of confinement or the week they are notified of a match for adoption
- Employees are only entitled to one continuous period of leave but may request several discontinuous periods of leave in which case the employer can agree, propose alternative dates or refuse altogether
- The provisions regarding terms and conditions during leave are very similar to the current provisions on maternity, adoption and paternity leave
- A further allowance of 20 shared parental leave contact days in addition to the 10 KIT days currently provided for maternity leave
- Neither parent can take the shared parental leave until the mother is no longer on maternity leave. Leave can be brought to an end early by the employee serving a leave curtailment notice giving at least 8 weeks’ notice
- There will be a SSPP – statutory shared parental pay which operates similarly to the current SMP
- Eligible employees can take up to a maximum of 52 weeks’ leave and have 39 weeks’ statutory pay shared between the parents, less any maternity leave period taken
- There are a number of written notices for employees to use
- The provisions regarding returning to work, rights on redundancy and protection from detriment and dismissal are very similar to the current provisions on maternity, adoption and paternity leave
The Regulations are currently complex and it will be a case of watching this space to see the final published regulations.