Shared parental leave changes give more flexibility

New rules regarding shared parental leave have come into effect, allowing parents and adopters more flexibility in how they care for their child during its first year of life.

Parents with children born on or after 5 April 2015 are now able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay in the first year after the child's birth. The aim of the reforms is to allow couples to better balance the needs of their new families against their employment commitments.

Partners who adopt a child are also now eligible for shared parental leave during the first year of the child's adoption.

The government estimates that around 285,000 couples will benefit from the changes.

Under the new rules:

  • mothers will continue to take a minimum of 2 weeks maternity leave after giving birth
  • after the initial maternity leave, couples will be able to share:
    • up to 50 weeks of leave
    • up to 37 weeks of pay.

In a blog post for the EEF, trade body for the manufacturing sector, Jo Swinson MP commented:

"The new shared parental leave regulations give real flexibility and choice to parents. Parents and adopters can choose when they return to work and dads and partners can spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development.

"The increased workplace agility that shared parental leave will create is good for families, good for business and good for the economy."

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