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Shared parental leave eligibility 02/09/2014 Couples finding out now that they are expecting a child will be among the first eligible to take advantage of new shared parental leave – which comes into force in April next year.

Shared parental leave eligibility

Couples finding out now that they are expecting a child will be among the first eligible to take advantage of new shared parental leave – which comes into force in April next year.

The new rules, which apply to couples whose babies are due from 5th April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother’s maternity leave.

Under the new system a pregnant woman will continue to have access to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of pay as she does currently. From 5th April, however, working couples will be able to share untaken maternity leave and pay. Mothers have to take the first two weeks off after giving birth as a recovery period, but the remaining 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks of pay can be shared.

The pattern of leave will have to be agreed between the employer and employee, with 8 weeks’ notice, but parents can take leave at the same time, so they can be at home together from the birth if this is agreed.

“Many employers recognise that they can retain talented staff by offering a flexible approach to work and a healthy work life balance can help business success and growth,” said Acas Chair Brendan Barber. “Shared parental leave will enable working parents to share maternity or adoption leave to allow both parents greater involvement with their child’s first year whilst employers have the potential to remain productive by agreeing new arrangements that works for their organisations.”
 

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