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Legal Updates

New right to shared parental leave confirmed from April 2015

29 November 2013 #Employment

The government has confirmed this week its commitment to introducing a year of shared leave for new parents from April 2015.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the rights would allow men to become more hands-on fathers and stop women feeling they have to choose between a career or a baby.

There should not be a "one-size-fits-all" approach, he added.

Since April 2011, fathers and mothers have been able to share some of the 52 weeks` existing leave, with the father able to take up to six months additional paternity leave beginning after the baby is 20 weeks old, once the mother returns to work.

However, this can only be taken as a single block - as can the leave the mother takes.

Under the proposed new arrangement, the existing 52 weeks of maternity leave, other than the first fortnight for a new mother`s recovery, can be shared between the parents. It need not be one block. The limitation proposed is that a parent can give notice up to three times when they wish to take shared parental leave giving at least eight weeks notice.

Announcing the reforms, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: “We want to create a fairer society that gives parents the flexibility to choose how they share care for their child in the first year after birth.”

The further changes confirmed are:

  • Father’s right to unpaid leave to attend up to two antenatal appointments
  • All parents of children under 18 to be able to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child
  • All employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will get the right to request flexible working.
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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