Shared Parental Leave – The discussion we should be having

14 February 2018
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Your local Colchester Law Firm discuss the governments' campaign promoting Shared Parental Leave.

This week the government have announced that they’re beginning a new campaign encouraging parents to take-up shared parental leave. It is estimated that in the UK currently, around 285,000 couples are eligible to take shared parental leave, but only 2% actually take advantage of this.
So what is Shared Parental Leave?
The idea of shared parental leave was actually only brought in just under 3 years ago, in April 2015. It’s a flexible leave option which allows parents to share 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after their child is born. It allows parents to decide whether they want to take the time off separately, or together. Shared Parental Leave Pay works out as £140.98 per week or 90% of your average earnings, depending on your income.
Why isn't it more popular?
Due to the incredibly low take-up of shared parental leave, it’s great to see the government actively encouraging couples to consider SPL as an option post-partum. However, for many couples, the main issue surrounding SPL, is that it isn’t a sustainable income. An estimated 1 in 3 couples turn down the scheme for this reason. This is something the government acknowledges and they’ve put out a statement encouraging that “Those employers that can afford to should go beyond the minimum pay for SPL.”
The Department of Business will be formally re-evaluating the Shared Parental Leave scheme later this year.
If you require advice on maternity or paternity leave relating to your current employer, our specialist in Employment Law, Karen Morovic, may be able to help. Find out more here.