One Month To Go Before Shared Parental Leave Requests Commence

Many Businesses Unaware Of December Start Date


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

UK businesses are now just one month away from receiving the first requests from staff for shared parental leave (ShPL) - but according to a leading employment lawyer, thousands of organisations are not ready and will be caught out.

Designed to provide greater flexibility for families, ShPL will be available to eligible employees whose babies are due on after 5 April 2015, or who have a child placed with them for adoption on or after that date. 

Although it is some time before businesses need to adjust to their employees’ different leave patterns, many are unaware that they could face requests from staff from 1 December 2014.

Christopher Tutton, an Employment Partner at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Under the new ShPL system, a pregnant woman will continue to have access to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of pay however under the new rules, working families will have the opportunity to share this leave.

ShPL is entirely optional and parents who do not wish to take it will remain entitled to benefits from all existing rights except additional paternity leave and pay which is being abolished.

The scheme anticipates that employees will be able to take ShPL in one continuous block, known as 'continuous leave', or in smaller blocks of leave interspersed with time at work known as 'discontinuous leave'. 

Employees wishing to take ShPL can serve a number of notices and employers are obliged to grant requests for continuous leave, but can refuse requests for intermittent leave periods if this causes disruption to the business.

Before the start of December, Irwin Mitchell advises companies develop their own ShPL policy if they haven’t already done so. This should include details about how employees should inform their employer, who the notification should be sent to and what should be included in it. It should also include how a notice to book leave will be handled and what contact with the organisation will be required during ShPL.