According to maternity, paternity and adoption law, new parents are entitled to a certain amount of leave. When the leave time has run out, parents and guardians also have the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements and take up to 18 weeks of unpaid Parental Leave.
If you have children due on or after 5 April 2015, you will have more flexibility in how you choose to take your parental leave. It will also be possible for you share the 50 weeks of maternity leave with the other parent which the mother would usually be entitled to. This is called Shared Parental Leave (SPL). You can choose to take leave together, separately or one of you may choose to take it all.
If you are eligible, you can stop and start your SPL and return to work in between, each parent will be able to submit up to three notices - booking periods of leave. You should not be penalised for using your entitlement, or put under pressure to change or cancel leave.
The current system of unpaid Parental Leave will continue to exist alongside this new flexible parental leave system. Under the new law, unpaid Parental Leave has been extended from 13 to 18 weeks for each child and from April 2015 it will be available for parents of all children up to the age of 18.
It is important that both you and your employer understand your rights and obligations in this regard, you should refer to your organisation’s policy in regards to this procedure. If you have questions regarding the leave you are entitled to, please contact a member of the Employment Team on 01279 755777 or get in touch with Gary Smith, Partner in our Employment Team.