Making sense of Shared Parental Leave

12 April 2016

With the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in 2015, employers have faced a daunting task of trying to make sense of the complex legislation, and the announcement of extensions to who is entitled is adding to their confusion.

Currently only the following are entitled to Shared Parental Leave and they must also share the main responsibility for the care of the child:

  • the husband, wife, civil partner or joint adopter
  • the child’s other parent
  • a partner, if they live with the parent and the child

The legislation saw the phasing out of additional paternity leave from April 2015 and provided a new way for parents to manage leave when a child is born or adopted. Now that both parents or partners can share, there’s a larger scope for impact on employers.

News to extend the legislation to include grandparents

Chancellor George Osbourne announced at last year’s Conservative conference, that working grandparents would be allowed to take time off and share parental leave.

He said “Research shows two million grandparents have either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren. Allowing them instead to share leave with their children will keep thousands more in the workplace, which is good for the economy.”

These planned changes aim to increase flexibility and choice in parental leave arrangements and support working parents with the costs of childcare in the first year of a child’s life.

Of working grandparents who have never taken time off work to care for grandchildren under 16, around 10% have not been able to do so because they have either been refused time off by their employer, or simply that they felt unable to ask.

Consultation to include grandparents begins in May this year with the Chancellor announcing that legislation will be brought forward in 2018.

When new legislation is introduced, it can be difficult for all businesses to adjust and make sense of the changes and how this might impact your business.

With an ever-increasing aging workforce, the proposed inclusion of grandparents in sharing leave means that the number of employees in a business eligible for leave could grow significantly.

Businesses will have to consider who is eligible and will have to manage the effect on staff rotas, payroll management, continuity of work and employee engagement.

Find out more about Shared Parental Leave by contacting the team today.

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