Shared Parental Leave & other new arrivals – the April 2015 changes to family friendly rights

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Posted in:HR and Employment|March 9, 2015 | Join the mailing list

On 3 March 2015, the Berg employment team hosted its Shared Parental Leave breakfast seminar, together with Hays Recruitment. The seminar talked through the complex new Shared Parental Leave and Pay regulations that will affect mothers, fathers and partners
who are expecting their child to be born on or after 5 April 2015, as well as adopters of children being placed on or after that date.

However, it’s important to remember that even though the Shared Parental Leave and Pay regulations have received enormous amounts of publicity, they’re not the only changes to the laws affecting families from 5 April 2015.

Firstly, that date sees adoption leave becoming “a day one right”. The new legislation is doing away with the previous 26 weeks qualifying period of employment for those seeking to take adoption leave, giving employees the right (where they are adopting a child
being placed on or after 5 April 2015) to adoption leave from their first day of employment.
Additionally, the rate of adoption pay is being increased so that it matches maternity pay, with the first six weeks of leave being paid at 90% of normal earnings before the lower statutory flat rate kicks in for the remaining 33 weeks of the leave period.

There’s also more financial good news for families, as it’s not just adoption pay that’s increasing. From 5 April 2015, the statutory flat rate for maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase to £139.58 per week (and for those taking time off work due
to sickness, statutory sick pay is also set to rise, to £88.45 per week).

New changes are also coming in which will benefit those who take unpaid parental leave. These changes will mean that parents will be able to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave until their child reaches the age of 18, which is an increase from the current limit
on the child being 5 years or under (unless the child is disabled).

5 April 2015 will also see an extension to the rights of parents who are having a child through surrogacy. Those parents (provided they meet the eligibility criteria) will now be entitled to ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared
parental leave and pay. Additionally, both parents will be able to take unpaid time off work to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.

Finally, in respect of babies due on or after 5 April 2015 (or children being placed for adoption on or after that date), the existing statutory entitlements to two weeks ordinary paternity leave and pay will continue, but the right to take up to 26 weeks additional
paternity leave is being abolished (as shared parental leave will be taking its place).     
 
Changes to employment law should not be a distraction for you and your organisation and to ensure that you’re able to concentrate on running your business and are confident with your HR operations, you need practical solutions and pragmatic legal advice.

Here at Berg, we’ve developed WORKs, the effective employment law and health and safety solution. We assign qualified and specialist employment law solicitors to you and your business, with years of solution-focused experience providing practical advice and
commercial legal guidance. Working with a specialist health and safety consultancy, we can also offer you WORKs Health and Safety to meet your H&S obligations. For more information, please

click here.

For more information about any of the above or for practical commercial advice on this or any other aspect of employment law, please contact
Nigel Crebbin
of the Berg Employment Team on 0161 833 9211 or email him at
nigelc@berg.co.uk.

Follow us on Twitter: @Berg_HR

(The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should
be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.)

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