HMRC are increasing their efforts to raise awareness of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) following suggestions that less than half of employees understand their rights.
SPL and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) are designed to give couples flexible childcare options in the first year after the arrival of a new baby. Their purpose is to enable both parents to share childcare, and make it possible for mothers to go back to work sooner. SPL and ShPP are also available to parents who are adopting or involved in surrogacy arrangements.
Qualifying for Shared Parental Leave
There is quite a lot of admin for parents who wish to participate in SPL – and for their employers. For example, parents are required to provide their employers with specific information in the form of written notices and declarations. Model forms can be accessed on Gov.uk although it may be more convenient for employers to create their own bespoke forms.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reports that one question commonly asked by new parents is whether their employer will know if they qualify for SPL. An employer will not be able to answer this question until an employee tells them, because both parents must meet certain eligibility criteria.
In general, to qualify for SPL, an employee must:
- have worked for the same employer continuously for about 40 weeks
- intend to share responsibility for childcare with the other parent.
To qualify for ShPP, an employee must:
- earn at least the lower earnings limit of £116 (2018/19) or £113 per week (2017/18), over an eight-week period.
The other parent must also satisfy work and earnings criteria.
If you are an employer, direct your employees to the Eligibility Checklists on Gov.uk
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