What shared parental leave means

Dads have another reason to celebrate, thanks to a new law that applies to them, their partner and baby. Fathers can ask their bosses for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) under new legislation, designed to offer new parents more flexibility than ever before.

These new allowances apply for fathers-to-be whose baby is due on or after 5 April 2015, or are adopting a child on or after 5 April 2015. The opportunity to apply for Additional Paternity Leave and Pay remains for babies due until 4 April 2015. For a full run-down of how the new legislation works, please visit the Money Advice Service website.

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Well received?

One in three younger workers actively intend to use the new rights, reports The Telegraph, and take Shared Parental Leave. There’s a different story from the Mail Online, which reports that fathers don’t want to split parental leave with mothers because of fears over losing money and their career status. Jeremy Davies, told the Mail why he thought Dad’s felt reluctant to take SPL:

“Is status anxiety an issue? Yes. You’ve got to feel confident that if you do this it’s not going to mess your career up.’

SPL in practice

Under the Shared Parental Leave model, a new mum could return to work following her maternity leave after 12 weeks and share the remaining 40 weeks with her partner. Or, mums could choose not to return to work so soon and spend the remaining weeks leave alongside her partner, sharing baby’s first months together. Permanent employees have the right to take this leave and employers have to approve it, unlike flexible working arrangements which had to be “properly considered”.

Mum’s the word

Before applying, Dads should check that the child’s mother, or adoptive parent, fits the eligibility criteria for Shared Parental Leave. She will need to be eligible for the following benefits herself; maternity leave or pay, maternity Allowance and adoption leave or pay. Payment of Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) also depends on mum meeting all the relevant employment and income requirements.

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Next steps: Dads

Employers can arrange SPL for new fathers who have worked for them for 26 weeks or more by the last day in the 15th week before baby’s due date, or the day they were matched with their adoption child – and still be in your employment. Dads then need to submit written notice of their entitlement to SPL and ShPP, confirming their intention to share childcare responsibility with their partner. Other details to include are: mum’s name, the maternity leave start and end dates, total amount of SPL and ShPP available, and how much they and their partner intend to take. Mothers will also have to submit paperwork to their partner’s employer – for details, see below.

Next step: Mums

Asking an employer for Shared Parental Leave also requires written notice from baby’s mother. You should include a signed declaration from the child’s mum, confirming their name, address and National Insurance number. As new parents together, you’ll be asked to provide a copy of your child’s birth certificate to the employer and will be given 14 days to submit it.

Disclosure: This post is brought t you from Money Advice Service

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