The new shared Parental Leave regulations came into effect on the 1st December which allows parents greater flexibility in how they share child care.
The new regulation, which applies to couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother’s maternity leave, with up to 285,000 working couples expected to be eligible to share leave from the date.
The government believe that the changes in how maternity leave can be used will create a culture in workplaces where fathers feel more confident in taking time off for childcare.
Jo Swinson, Employment Relations Minister,said:
“The new Shared Parental Leave rules will give real choice to parents. We all know that every family has its own unique set of circumstances, and Shared Parental Leave reflects that reality.
Mothers and adopters will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers and partners will be able to spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development.”
Under the regulation, mothers will still take at least 2 weeks of maternity leave immediately after birth, but after that working couples have the opportunity to share up to 37 weeks of pay and 50 weeks of leave.
Sir Brendan Barber, Acas chair added:
“Many employers recognise that they can retain talented staff by offering a flexible approach to work and a healthy work life balance can help business success and growth.”
“Shared Parental Leave will enable working parents to share maternity or adoption leave to allow both parents greater involvement with their child’s first year whilst employers have the potential to remain productive by agreeing new arrangements that work for their organisations.”
“As workplace experts, we have published a new free guide on Shared Parental Leave to help employers and employees understand how the new changes will affect them and how to manage leave requests fairly.”
The guide can be seen at: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4911