Shared parental leave rules published

14 January 2014

The government has published its consultation response on shared parental leave and pay, in which it has announced that new legislation, due later this year with implementation expected next year, will:

  • give mothers who opt into shared parental leave prior to giving birth a right to revoke this option for up to six weeks following the birth,
  • require employees to give an ‘indication’ of when they expect to take their allocated leave when they initially notify their employers of their intention to take shared parental leave. Employees will also be required to give at least eight weeks’ notice of any leave they will actually be taking,
  • cap the number of times a parent can notify the employer that they will be taking a period of shared parental leave at three (the original notification and two further notifications or changes). Provision will be made so that changes that are mutually agreed between the employer and employee will not count towards this notification cap,
  • set the cut-off point for taking shared parental leave at 52 weeks following the birth (or adoption),
  • create a new provision for each parent to have up to 20 days under shared parental leave to support them in returning to work, including using these days to return to work on a part-time basis for a limited period,
  • maintain the right to return to the same job for employees returning from any period of leave that includes maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave that totals 26 weeks or less in aggregate, even if the leave is taken in discontinuous blocks,
  • align the notice periods for leave and pay for a parent taking paternity leave at eight weeks,
  • publish guidance to encourage employees who qualify under the new fostering-for-adoption placement process to give employers as much warning as possible. The new legislation will also include rules to:
  • allow the mother’s or adopter’s spouse/partner to attend up to two antenatal appointments or adoption meetings during working time, unpaid,
  • extend the right to request flexible working to those without caring commitments.

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