Employment law: changes to be aware of from 5 April
- the introduction of shared parental leave; and
- a change to age limits for parental leave.
Note that despite the similar terminology, the two types of leave are unrelated.
Shared parental leave
Shared parental leave now enables eligible employees and agency workers to share up to 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ pay that was previously only available to mothers. The Government has uploaded a helpful calculator for determining shared parental leave entitlement and pay: https://www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents
So, does this mean no more additional paternity leave?
Shared parental leave is replacing additional paternity leave. However, additional paternity leave will remain in place for parents of children born before 5 April 2015. It is expected that the system of additional paternity leave and pay will remain in operation until mid-April 2016.
As a quick reminder, parental leave is a form of statutory unpaid leave available to some working parents in addition to statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave and shared parental leave.
The total amount of unpaid leave that can be taken per child is 18 weeks. However. now parental leave can be taken up until a child's 18th birthday (where previously it finished at the child’s 5th birthday).
We recommend that you update your staff handbooks and policies to give effect to these changes. If you require a shared parental leave policy, or would like a member of our team to carry out a general review of your staff handbook, then please get in touch.