Under the regulations, couples will be able to share maternity or adoption leave and pay from 5 April 2015. The guide includes a step by step guide on how eligible employees can make an SPL request to their employer and advice for employers on how to deal with SPL requests fairly.
Acas head of guidance Stewart Gee said the guide was produced with input from large and small employers, family groups and trade unions. “We advise employers and employees to start early with discussions to ensure that they can agree the sort of arrangements which work best for business and working families,” he said.
According to estimates from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), there are expected to be around 285,000 working couples who will be eligible to share their leave from April.
Employment relations minister Jo Swinson said: “Dads have a key role to play in the early weeks and months of a baby’s life and it is right that the arrangements for parental leave should reflect that. Shared parental leave is not only good news for parents-to-be, but for employers who will benefit from having a workforce that is more flexible and motivated.”
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 but working families will have the opportunity to share this leave.
Sarah Jackson, CEO of charity Working Families, said: “Shared parental leave is a significant opportunity for a new generation of parents and for their employers. It offers employers a way into an early conversation with their working fathers and gives parents the chance to start their family life together, simultaneously on leave.
SPL can be taken in several blocks. Eligible parents will be able to make use of a mixture of weeks of work and leave in the first year of their child’s life, returning to work between periods of leave if they wish.
Acas’ full guidance Shared Parental Leave: A good practice guide for employers and employees is available at: http://www.acas.org.uk/SPL
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