Shared Parental Leave Policy – A Guide For Employers
Recent interest in the gender pay gap has resulted in discussions regarding the ways in which women lose out on overall lifetime earnings. Childcare, the influence of historic gender roles, and employment legislation have emerged as some of the key talking points in this debate. Legislated for in 2014, shared parental leave policy has been viewed as one of the ways government is trying to offer families an alternative and potentially reduce the pay gap. Here, we offer a complete guide for employers, ensuring you know what your exact responsibilities are and how the process works.
Basics of Shared Parental Leave Policy
Shared parental leave allows parents to share their statutory leave so that they’re both involved in the early stage of their child’s development and one parent is not solely responsible for childcare. Parents can arrange their shared parental leave in any number of ways. Time can be booked off in a single block, discontinuous periods of a week or more, and can run concurrently or back-to-back.
Who is Entitled?
To be eligible for shared parental leave, both parents need to meet certain criteria. The mother, or primary adopter, must meet the length of employment qualification. It dictates that;
- They must have been employed for 26 weeks at the 15th week before the child’s expected birth date or the match date for an adoption.
- Their partner must meet both length of employment and earnings qualifications.
- The partner must have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks preceding the expected birth date.
- They must have earned an average of £30 per week in 13 of those weeks.
How is Shared Parental Leave Arranged?
In order to receive shared parental leave, employees must give notice within a specified period of time. The mother, or primary adopter, must notify the employer that they’re ending their statutory leave early in order to take shared parental leave. This must be done 8 weeks in advance of the proposed leave’s start date and the employee must inform the employer as to how they want to take their leave, and also approve the amount of time their partner will be taking. The partner must also provide 8 weeks’ notice of shared parental leave. Employers can respond to timely notices in one of two ways;
- An employer cannot refuse the shared parental leave if it is booked as one continuous block.
- An employer may refuse the leave if it is organised into discontinuous periods. In this case, employers can propose alternative dates and, if an agreement still can’t be reached, the employee can take the leave as one continuous block or cancel the leave.
What is Shared Parental Leave Pay (ShPP)?
ShPP is only available if the mother, or primary adopter, ends their statutory leave early and converts their remaining statutory leave and pay into shared leave. The partner must also meet the relevant length of employment and earnings criteria. ShPP currently stands at £140.98 per week or 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings – whichever is lower.
Shared parental leave policy can sometimes cause complications for employers. However, the organisational and application process will be relatively simple as long employers and employees communicate closely and give plenty of notice of their intentions. As an employer, it’s important to fully understand the qualifying criteria for shared parental leave, what employees are entitled to, and what influence you have over the process.
Questions about shared parental leave policy? Wirehouse has been providing employment and HR advice to employers since 2010. Contact us today for advice and support