One of the things that make employment law one of the most challenging yet vital areas of the UK legal system is the frequent changes made to legislation. As of April 2015 there will be a series of new changes regarding parental leave rights, which will be known as Shared Parental Leave (SPL).
It’s vital that all new parents in Britain stay up to date with these alterations, and that all employers make certain their employees are aware of the changes ahead of time. Here is a summary of the key changes taking place in April 2015:
Shared parental leave
The right to statutory shared parental pay is to be made available to all parents of babies born on or after April 5th 2015. This will allow mothers to return to work early from maternity leave, and will grant new mothers and fathers the right to share their leave between them, which can be arranged during the same time period if required.
This new policy is being implemented to grant parents extra flexibility in regards to how they share the responsibility of caring for their child during the first year of its life.
Extra unpaid parental leave granted
In addition to plans of increasing the parental leave period, unpaid leave for parents who have been continuously employed by a single employer for a year or longer will also be increased to an as of yet undetermined length of time.
The current eighteen week leave period is only granted to the parents of a child aged under five, with the exception of cases where a child is disabled, in which case the maximum age is eighteen years.
However, this eighteen week period will now be extended to all parents, regardless of the child’s age or how long the parent has worked for their employer.
Greater rights for adoptive parents
Employees who adopt a child on or after 5th April will also experience the benefit of a change in shared parental leave and pay, as will the parents of a child born via a surrogacy agreement.
Similar to SSL, the Statutory Shared Parental Pay (SSPP) is a scheme that will allow a mother eligible for statutory maternity leave and pay to end her entitlements early by sharing the maternity time with the father of her child, regardless of their relationship circumstance and/or living circumstance.
The current law states that an adoptive parent must have undertaken twenty-six weeks of employment with their employer before certain adoptive allowances can be granted, but this rule will be abolished from April 5th. Furthermore, the statuary adoption salary is also due to experience an increase.
The effect on employers
The key change that employers will need to be concerned with is that employees will now have the right to book their shared maternity leave at various periods across the working year, rather than in one continuous timeframe.
Many employers have reported receiving requests of this kind from their employees already. Needless to say, the changes to parental leave are going to have far reaching effects, and the services of employment law solicitors will be needed to represent both employers and employees alike.
Will you be affected by the change in paternity allowance?
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