Shared parental leave is a new and creative way for parents to share statutory family leave and pay on the birth of a child. It has replaced the additional paternity leave regime which enabled an eligible employee to care for their child after the mother had returned to work for a period of between two and 26 weeks, starting 20 weeks after the child's birth.
However, it is separate from the right to unpaid parental leave and has not replaced the current maternity leave and pay regime. Similar rights apply to adoptions. The intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement are also entitled to take advantage of shared parental leave. These rights also apply to partnerships of the same sex and include women in same-sex partnerships.
The right to shared parental leave only applies to employees who fulfil the relevant eligibility criteria. The right allows the mother to choose to bring her maternity leave to an end at any point after the initial two week compulsory maternity leave period following the birth of the child. The parents can then choose how to split up the remaining weeks of leave between them. Shared parental leave can be taken by each parent separately or at the same time.
We can give further advice on taking leave, call us today to see how we can help you!