Shared parental leave – Parents can now split up to 50 weeks

25 March, 2015

Working parents will be able to split up to 50 weeks off after having a baby or adopting from 5 April 2015 under new rules aimed at offering greater flexibility in how they care for their children in their first year.

Shared parental leave is designed to “challenge the old-fashioned assumption that women will always be the parent that stays at home,” said Nick Clegg, when he announced the change 18 months ago.

It is expected to encourage more women to go back to work and persuade fathers to take time off to look after their children.

Mothers will take the first two weeks – the compulsory part of maternity leave. However, it will be possible to transfer the remaining maternity leave to the father or, in theory, share it.

This right will only be available to couples if both work, which critics say rules out many parents.

As far as pay is concerned, unless your employer offers an enhanced package, pay will be at the statutory level.

This is 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings before tax for the first six weeks, then £139.58 a week (from April 2015) or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower – for the next 33 weeks. In total, 39 of the 52 weeks will be paid.

At Watson Buckle we know that this will leave a financial strain on many employers. To make sure that you are fully compliant with the new rules, please contact us.