Shared parental leave
The UK Government has confirmed that the new system of shared parental leave will come into force in April 2015.
The mother will be allowed to choose to end her maternity leave at any time after the end of the compulsory maternity leave period (i.e. the first 2 weeks after the child’s birth) and, subject to certain qualifying conditions, the untaken balance of maternity leave and pay may be taken by the mother or father as shared parental leave and pay.
In addition, as long as no more than 52 weeks leave is taken in total by the parents (whether as maternity or shared parental leave), they may take shared parental leave in a variety of ways and different blocks of time, subject to the agreement of their employers – if they will not agree, the parents have the right to take the leave in one continuous block.
The total period of paid leave (whether taken as maternity or shared parental leave) will be 39 weeks. Whilst the first 6 weeks of any maternity leave taken will be paid at the rate of 90 per cent of the mother’s salary, any further period of maternity leave or shared parental leave taken will be paid at the flat statutory rate only.
The existing right to two weeks ordinary paternity leave will remain for the exclusive use of the father but additional paternity leave is to be abolished.