New Shared Parental Leave regulations have come into effect, allowing parents more flexibility in how they look after their child during the first year after birth.
The rules will allow couples with babies born or adopted from April 2015 to share the mother’s maternity leave.
The government expects that up to 285,000 couples stand to benefit from the reforms.
Under Shared Parental Leave:
- mothers will take a minimum of 2 weeks maternity leave after giving birth
- after the initial period couples will be able to share:
- up to 50 weeks of leave
- up to 37 weeks of pay.
Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said the rules will provide parents with a “real choice”:
“Mothers and adopters will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers and partners will be able to spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development.”
Brendan Barber, chairman of ACAS, said:
“Shared Parental Leave will enable working parents to share maternity or adoption leave to allow both parents greater involvement with their child’s first year whilst employers have the potential to remain productive by agreeing new arrangements that work for their organisations.”