What is Shared Parental Leave (“SPL”)?
SPL is a new entitlement for eligible parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption, on or after 5th April 2015.
SPL enables parents to share the caring responsibility evenly, or have one parent take the main caring role, depending upon their preferences and circumstances.
The amount of leave available is calculated using the mother’s entitlement to Maternity Leave/Adoption Leave which allows her to take up to 52 weeks of leave. If she reduces her Maternity Leave/Adoption Leave entitlement then she and or her partner may opt into SPL and take any remaining weeks as SPL.
To quality for SPL for one or both parents, the mother must:-
- Have a partner.
- Be entitled to maternity leave/adoption leave; or to statutory maternity pay/adoption pay or maternity allowance; and
- Have curtailed, or given notice to reduce, their maternity leave/adoption leave or their pay/allowance.
The parent who intends to take SPL must:-
- Be an employee;
- Share the primary responsibility for the child with the other parent at the time of birth or placement for adoption; and
- Have properly notified their employer of their entitlement and have provided the necessary declarations and evidence.
In addition a parent wanting to take SPL is required to satisfy the “Continuity of Employment Test” and their partner must meet the “Employment and Earnings Test”.
(i) “the Continuity of Employment Test”
The person has worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the child’s expected due date/matching date and is still working for the employer at the start of each leave period.
(ii) “the Employment and Earnings Test”
In the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s expected due date/matching date, the person has worked for at least 26 weeks and earned an average of at least £30.00 a week in any 13 weeks.
Sometimes only one parent will be eligible. For example a self-employed parent will not be entitled to SPL themselves but they may still pass the Employment and Earnings Test so their partner, if they are an employee, may still qualify.
If both parents are employees and both meet the qualifying requirements then there will be a joint entitlement and the parents will have to determine how to divide the leave and entitlement once the mother has decided to curtail her maternity/adoption leave.
Shared Parental Pay (“SPP”)
A mother, subject to certain criteria, will be entitled to statutory maternity pay/adoption pay/maternity allowance up to 39 weeks. If the mother gives notice to reduce her entitlement before she has received it for 39 weeks then any remaining weeks could become available as SPP.
To qualify for SPP an employee needs to have met the “Continuity of Employment Test” as above and their partner must meet the “Employment and Earnings Test” as above. In addition the employee must also have earned above the lower earnings limit in the 8 weeks leading up to and including the 15th week before the child’s due date/matching date and still be employed with the same employer at the start of the first period of SPP.
Currently the lower earnings limit is an average salary of £111.00 for the 8 weeks prior to the 15th week before the expected due date or matching date.
Currently SPP is paid at the rate of £138.18 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). SPP will increase to £139.58 per week from the 5th April 2015.
To ensure consistency in making and responding to notifications regarding SPL it is very useful for employers to set out the notification arrangement and the employees’ rights in a policy.
A policy should include:-
- A statement advising that all notices for a continuous period of leave, from eligible employees, will be accepted and that all request for discontinuous leave will be considered.
- The amount of notifications to book/vary leave available to the employee.
- How employees should inform their employer of their entitlement to SPL, who the notification should be sent to and what should be included in it.
- How a notice to book leave will be handled.
- The time limits for dealing with a notice to book SPL.
- SPL “in touch” days.
- Contact during SPL.
- The payments an employee may be entitled to while on SPL.
- Where to find forms and further information.
If you need advice regarding shared parental leave or assistance with drafting a company policy then please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Gemma Mayer on 01755 722261 or email email@example.com