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‘Two thirds of parents’ would consider new shared parental leave

With new shared parental leave rights coming into effect on 1 December, recent research suggests that around two thirds of working parents would consider taking advantage of the new system.

The Government has now published the final regulations governing the new rights, which will allow eligible employees whose babies are due or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015 to share up to one year of parental leave between them.

Under the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014, a mother can choose to curtail her statutory maternity leave (following an initial two week recovery period) and to share the remainder of the 52 week leave period with her partner or the child’s father.

The couple can opt to take time off together or individually, or to take time off in blocks during the 52 week period, subject to the appropriate notice being given.

Employed women will continue to be entitled to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, with up to 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. The existing entitlement to two weeks’ paid paternity leave will still be available to qualifying men, but additional paternity leave will be replaced by the new shared parental leave.

Employees could begin giving notice of their intention to take shared parental leave from January 2015.