- Posted Tuesday July 29, 2014
Shared parental leave will be in be in place for employees who are due to have a baby with an expected due date of 5 April 2015, or after. This means that there will be an extended period of time after the compulsory maternity leave period of two weeks, where the following 50 weeks can be shared as necessary between both parents, using alternating block periods of time or taken together.
This policy will give more choice and flexibility in terms of who stays at home and looks after the baby and for how long. This enables fathers to play more of a caring role and allows both parents to retain strong links to their work.
The legislation will replace the current ‘additional paternity leave’ system, however for a period of time there will be a crossover of legislation, where practices will need to run two processes in conjunction with each other.
Parental leave policy
It would be advisable to create a parental leave policy which will detail all the items that you and your employees need to know. Employers should carry out a review of existing leave policies and ensure that you have appropriate forms to help administer the new process. You should ensure that the policy covers:
- Eligibility – who can apply
- The process – how employees apply, any notice periods and how it will be implemented
- Variations – how to end or vary the agreement terms
- Pay – establish the rate you will pay those staff who take parental leave
Will it work?
A Governmental study completed on 2009/10 showed only 9% of new fathers take over two weeks paternity leave, falling to 2% among managers. The full report can be accessed here
This suggests that although the facility is there for fathers to take additional leave, the take-up may be poor once the new legislation comes into force. On this basis, shared parental leave may take a similar pattern with a slow take-up, but employers will still need to be ready to answer questions on this matter from this autumn onwards.
First Practice Management (FPM) will be compiling a new shared parental leave policy for its members, once complete we will notify to you via the bulletin and blog.
In addition to the above, FPM members can obtain further information via the DPM website. Alternatively members can also email specific questions about employment issues to firstname.lastname@example.org where your question will be treated in confidence and normally answered (by email) within two working days of submission.