New rules will allow parental leave following the birth of a child to be shared between both parents.

The rules were introduced last year and are now in force. If your baby was born on or after April 5, you may be eligible to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL), and you could also be eligible if you are adopting a child on or after this date.

SPL will mean that couples are able to share 52 weeks leave between them, instead of taking Maternity and Paternity Leave. The law promotes gender equality in the workplace, and will give more flexibility to couples who may wish to share their time off equally. The proportion of women who are the main breadwinners in UK households is rising, and an increasing number of couples are expected to share their parental leave in the future.

Unlike maternity leave, SPL can be taken in three separate blocks with periods of work in between. It can be taken at the same time as your partner or separately. You must give your employer written notice if you wish to take SPL but, as with maternity leave, they cannot refuse you this right.

SPL must be taken within a year of the baby’s birth or a child’s adoption, and can begin after the adoption or birth. Each parent qualifies separately for the leave – you can check below whether you and your partner are eligible.

Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave (SPL)

To be eligible for SPL, you or your partner must already be eligible for Maternity or Adoption Leave, or Maternity Allowance.

You must also remain with the same employer while your leave is taken and have been employed by them for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week of pregnancy before the baby’s due date. Couples who adopt must have been employed for 26 weeks by the date the adoption is matched.

In addition, your partner must have worked for at least 26 weeks of the 66 before the baby’s birth or adoption match and have earned at least £390 in 13 of those weeks.

Macks’ employment solicitors in Darlington can provide legal advice for all aspects of employment law. Our employment team deals with discrimination at work claims, settlement agreements, unfair dismissal, and other wider issues with your employment. You can contact our employment solicitors in Darlington on 01325 389800. Meetings can be arranged in Darlington, or at our other offices in Middlesbrough and Redcar.

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