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Shared Parental Leave to Benefit Newly Expectant Couples

Couples who are now finding out they are expecting a baby may be able to take advantage of shared parental leave. The new system provides that a pregnant woman will continue to have access to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of maternity pay- as under the current rules.

However, where a child is born (or placed for adoption) on or after April 5 2015, working families will be given greater flexibility to share parental leave, which will allow parents the option to spend up to six months at home together following the birth of their child.

Couples may take shared parental leave where the mother chooses to end her maternity leave (and pay) early, with the remainder of her statutory leave and pay being transferred to her partner. It is expected that around 285,000 couples will be eligible to share leave from April 2015.

Jo Swinson, Employment Relations Minister said:

“Introducing shared parental leave is a significant step towards changing workplace culture, making it just as normal for fathers to take on childcare responsibilities as mothers.”

Brendan Barber Chair of Acas, said:

“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.As workplace experts, we have published a new free online guide on shared parental leave to help employers understand how the new changes will affect them. We are also working on detailed guidance to help employees and employers manage SPL requests fairly.”

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