02 February 2015 #Employment
The new shared parental leave rules apply in respect of babies due on or after 5 April 2015, which happens to be Easter Sunday this year.
According to a survey carried out for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (“Shared Parental Leave: Public Attitudes”) published this week, 53 % of respondents felt that childcare should be the equal responsibility of both parents, while 22 % believed that couples should be able to choose how they divide their caring responsibilities, depending on their circumstances.
Interestingly, a higher percentage (56%) of men thought that childcare should be up to both parents, compared with 50% of women.
The survey was intended to gauge perceptions of shared childcare in advance of the introduction of shared parental leave, which will be available to parents who give birth or adopt from 5 April this year.
The new rules, which came into force on 1 December 2014, allow parents to share up to 50 weeks of shared parental leave, including up to 37 weeks of shared parental pay in the baby’s first year.
Employment relations minister Jo Swinson added: “This survey shows people are rejecting dated stereotypes about the roles of men and women. Parenting is a shared endeavour and couples want more flexibility when they are adapting to the demands of a new baby.”
If you have employees who from September/October 2014, informed you of their pregnancy, they will be potentially in scope to take statutory shared parental leave as the new rules apply in respect of babies due on or after 5 April 2015. The earliest date that an employee will able to take shared parental leave is 19 April 2015, allowing for the 14 day compulsory maternity leave period. In practice, it is unlikely that many women will want to substitute their right to maternity leave for shared parental leave until say mid June 2015, after about three month’s maternity leave. It may prove attractive then for certain women, without the benefit of enhanced maternity pay, to get back to periods of fully paid work interspersed with periods of shared parental leave. Hence, from then increasingly more men will be likely to want to take shared parental leave to cover for their partner ending their maternity leave.
Since at least eight weeks’ notice to take shared parental leave is required, requests may start to become more common from after this Easter.
To get ready for Easter, make use of the employmentbuddy templates, including: