Regulations came into force on the 1 December 2014 concerning shared parental leave and pay. These regulations are designed to enable eligible mothers and fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born. It could mean that the mother shares some of the leave with her partner. The whole idea of the regulations is to give parents more flexibility in the first year following birth or adoption.
To qualify, a mother, or adopter, must be proposing to share the responsibility of caring for their child with the child’s father or their partner.
For a parent to be eligible to take shared parental leave he or she must be an employee and must pass the continuity of employment test set out below. The other parent in the family must meet the employment and earnings test.
The continuity of employment test requires the employee concerned to have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the fifteenth week before the week in which the child is due, or adoption is to take place.
The employment and earning test requires the person concerned to have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date, or the date adoption is to take place, and have earned an average of at least £30 a week in any 13 weeks in that period.
If both parents satisfy the continuity of employment test both will be able to make use of shared parental leave. However, if only one person meets the eligibility criteria for continuity of employment, it may still be possible for a couple to share the shared parental leave if the other partner(who might perhaps be self-employed) can meet the employment and earnings test.
Shared parental leave may be taken at any time within the period which begins on the date the child is born (or placed for adoption) and ends fifty-two weeks after that date. An employee is entitled to submit three separate notices to book leave. Leave must be taken in complete weeks and can be taken in a continuous period or may be split up. An employer cannot refuse continuous periods of leave but may refuse requests for leave to be broken up. All notices however must be received by an employer at least eight weeks before the leave is due to start.
It is important to note that a mother must take a minimum of two weeks away from work after the immediate birth of a child -even if she is willing to return to work sooner.
As of April 2018, the statutory shared parental pay is £145.18 per week, or 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). To qualify for this a parent must have earned at least £116, on average for the eight weeks prior to the fifteenth week before the due date, or adoption, takes place. The other parent must meet the tests set out above.
The regulations are quite complex and we are happy to provide further advice on individual cases and assist in completion of the necessary application forms. We can advise employees or employers on these regulations.
Please contact Chris Kingham at chris.kingham@lawsonlewisblakers if you wish to seek advice on anything mentioned above.