Did you know from 4 April 2015 both Mums and Dads can share the parental leave and make it work, best, for their family? I know legislation can look and sound scary, but I am sure you are already thinking about how it will benefit you. Or maybe you are like me, thinking this would have been brilliant when I was expecting my children. The Government information for Shared Parental Leave and Pay really breaks it down so it is easy to understand, it is definitely worth a read if you are expecting a baby after 4 April 2015.
I think the bottom line is that there will now be the flexibility to, pretty much, do what you like with your parental leave. Whether that be Mum take the first block of maternity with 12 weeks, then Dad take a block of 20 weeks and Mum take a block of 20 weeks. Or if both Mum and Dad want to take the time off together then this is also a possibility.
2. Employee rights
With SPL you are now entitled to three separate blocks of leave, but the good thing is your employer can give you more block of time if you so wish. For example you may want to do schedule your leave with your partner like this, where the Mum is taking four blocks of leave over the year (Please remember that anything over the three blocks of leave is down to the particular employer):
- Mum and Dad – block 1 (12 weeks)
- Dad – block 2 (5 weeks)
- Mum – block 3 (10 weeks)
- Dad – block 4 (10 weeks)
- Mum – block 5 (5 weeks)
- Dad – block 6 (5 weeks)
- Mum and Dad – block 7 (5 weeks)
3. Plan out your blocks of leave
You need to give your employer at least eight weeks notice if you want a block of leave. A good tip when finding out your pregnant and having that discussion at work would be to go armed with a nice clear list like above, this way you have given ample notice of your blocks of leave! Obviously you could change that nearer the time, but just remember that eight week notice period.
4. Do you get any pay?
If you are eligible for SPL then you will get up to a maximum of 50 weeks as shared parental leave and you can take the rest of the 37 weeks of pay or maternity allowance as Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). This is calculated at £138.18 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. This is the same as the current statutory maternity pay rates. So basically after the first 6 weeks, you will get £138.18 a week.
5. Are we eligible for SPL?
It is quite an important question to ask, and there is a lot of information to take in. Hence me leaving this tip until last. Basically there are rules about maternity and paternity which carry over into SPL. The main points to remember are have you been employed continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date and will you be employed by the same employer while you take SPL? Head on over to the gov.uk website to read more about whether you are eligible for Shared Parental Leave.
I love this video which shows various families and how the Shared Parental Leave is working for them:
This would have been incredible when we had our children, more so for when we had Isla. Having both me and my husband at home to look after our newborn Isla and 18 month toddler, Noah, would have been such a huge support. Also knowing that we are still getting some money in to pay the bills. Spreading the blocks of time over the year would have been nice too, so that my husband could spend quality time with the children, without me around. Second time around I didn’t have my full entitlement as I went back to work full time, it would have been good for my husband to take over and we wouldn’t have had to spend hundreds on nursery costs. I think it is just nice for the Dads to be more involved too. I love the comment from the Dad in the video who says that his child asked for Dad as much as Mum when they were sad. That just sums it all up in a nutshell for me. On the whole I think it is a great idea. Just a shame it wasn’t available four years ago!