Those starting a family or making new additions to their family have much to be happy about. Forget needing to take old fashioned maternity and paternity leave. The law, which changed in April 2015 now allows working parents to share the responsibility of caring for and raising a child.
The right to take shared parental leave and receive shared parental pay applies to children born after 5 April 2015. The mother has to take a compulsory 2 weeks of leave after giving birth. After that, she can share the leave with her partner.
There are up to 50 weeks of leave available for sharing. The 50 weeks can be taken in turns and periods of leave separated. Or leave can be taken by couples together to promote quality family time.
Parental pay can be shared for up to 37 weeks of that time.
Adoptive parents will also benefit from the change in the law. Adoption leave will become a “day one” right which will not require qualifying service and adoption pay will increase. In addition, adoptive parents will be allowed paid time off to attend appointments regarding their adoption and the legal system will apply to adoption from overseas.
Surrogate parents too, who until now had no rights to leave or pay on having a child, will have the right to adoption leave. Shared parental leave is also a possibility.
The April changes do not just affect those expecting the tiny patter of little feet. Ordinary parental leave is available to employees with one year of service. This right used to apply only to those with children under 5. From April 2015 it applies to children up to 18. The leave is unpaid and up to 18 weeks of leave can be taken.