Where a child is due to be born (or adopted) on or after 5 April 2015, its parents will be entitled to share the 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of maternity pay or maternity allowance which is currently available only to the mother. This ability to share parental leave and pay will not apply in Northern Ireland until the Northern Ireland Assembly passes the relevant regulations.
As an employer you need to be ready to deal with claims from employees to share leave and pay, and to report details of shared statutory parental pay in your RTI reports.
The parents generally have to give 8-weeks' notice of a period of shared parental leave, which can be taken at any time within the child's first year (or first year after adoption). The leave and pay must be taken in blocks of full weeks, but can start on any day of the week.
The parents need to self-certify that they both meet the following conditions for shared parental leave:
- they must be employed or self-employed in Great Britain for 26 weeks in the 66 week period that ends with the week before the birth (adoption) week; and
- they must have average earnings of £30 or more each in at least 13 of those 66 weeks.
- To qualify for shared parental pay the parent must also have earned an average salary of at least the lower earnings limit (£112 for 2015/16), for the 8 weeks prior to the 15th week before the expected birth date. That pay threshold must be met by both parents if the statutory pay is to be shared.
You don't have to check the facts supplied on self-certified claim by the parents, but you must record the name and NI number of the other parent (who is not your employee), who is sharing the leave/pay to report to HMRC. We can help you with the reporting requirements.
It would be best practice to insert the new Shared Parental leave and Pay Policy into your Staff Handbook more information can be found on the ACAS website.
Government Guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-employer-guide