Towards the end of last year, this very important piece of legislation came into force which will affect the majority of SMEs across the UK that employ staff.
There have been a number of clients who have been asking us about how the new rules on maternity/paternity will affect them.
Below is a quick summary to get you up to scratch.
Well, in a nutshell it means that mothers, fathers, partners and adopters can choose exactly how to share the time off they will receive when their child is born or adopted.
So, a mother or adopter can share this time with the father/partner, choose if they want to return in the interim, and then go back to their leave later.
It is a useful piece of legislation for mothers/adopters who were working on a big project but had to leave for maternity. They can then resume their work while the father/adopter looks after the newborn and return back to motherhood/fatherhood once their work is finished.
This flexibility is a great way for parents to share their work responsibilities. However, for employers it simply highlights the need to prepare
Every mother or adopter who shares the responsibility of looking after their child with the father/partner qualifies.
Furthermore, if they are an employee and fit the employment and earnings test, they will be eligible for Shared Parental Leave. This includes:
For those adopting they must have been in employment with the company for at least 26 weeks when they told they have been matched with a child or adoption.
One thing to note is that a family can still take Shared Parental Leave even if only one party meets the criteria. Taking the example of a self-employed parent who pass the eligibility tests allowing the other parent in the family to qualify.
Any time from when the child is born/adopted and ends exactly 52 weeks from this date.
Every employee is eligible to book their leave through three separate notices. If booked, this leave has to be taken in a full week block.
The period of leave must be either taken all in one go, which the employer legally has to abide by, or in separate blocks which an employer can refuse.
If this request is refused then by default this period must be taken as a continuous block unless it is withdrawn.
In simple terms, it will have a great affect especially SMEs with key personnel within their team.
Business that embrace this new legislation quickly and out the correct processes in place immediately will be the ones who will continue operating their daily operations in as smooth a manner as possible.
Those who quickly embed this new legislation within their business policies will be the real winners.
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