WR Solicitor & Director Jonathan LeachJonathan Leach, Director and Head of Employment Law at Watson Ramsbottom looks at changes which affect shared parental leave and pay.

The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 made changes to the way in which eligible parents can take leave after the birth or adoption of a child, introducing more flexible, more equal arrangements that enable mothers to share up to 50 weeks’ maternity leave and 37 weeks’ pay with their partner so that both parents are able to keep a strong link to their workplace.

Although around 285,000 couples every year qualify for Shared Parental Leave (SPL), take-up is reported to be as low as 2 per cent.

In an effort to encourage more parents to take advantage of the scheme, the Government has launched a new advertising campaign, entitled ‘Share the Joy’, as part of its commitment to raise awareness of employment rights in a drive to boost job satisfaction and productivity under the modern Industrial Strategy and Good Work plan.

The campaign will make use of digital advertising, social media, and adverts in train stations and on commuter routes. There is also a new website providing detailed information and guidance on SPL. See https://sharedparentalleave.campaign.gov.uk/.

In addition, the Government has updated its tools and guidance for parents thinking of taking SPL and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) to include material specifically aimed at adoptive parents.

The information available includes a four-page factsheet on SPL and ShPP, a more detailed Parents’ Guide, eligibility checklists, a planner, and model notices and declarations for employees to use when making arrangements for SPL and ShPP with their employer.

The guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-guidance-and-tools-for-parents.

For advice on employment law matters, please contact Jonathan Leach, Director and Head of Employment Department on 01254 67 22 22 or complete our online enquiry form discuss your concerns with one of our team of expert advisors.

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