Consultant editor Darren Newman provides an overview of the new right to shared parental leave and suggests that, while the relevant legislation is complicated, dealing with shared parental leave itself need not be.
The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 have now been laid before Parliament. They come into force on 1 December 2014 and apply in respect of babies expected to be born on or after 5 April 2015. This means that the first babies in relation to which employees can take shared parental leave have already been conceived.
Shared parental leave overlaps with a mother’s right to take maternity leave and exists alongside her partner’s right to take one or two weeks’ paternity leave. It replaces the right to additional paternity leave. However, not everyone qualifies for shared parental leave; both parents need to have at least 26 weeks’ service with their current employer and earn at least the minimum threshold needed to qualify for maternity allowance.