Step by Step Help for Employers: Shared Parental Leave

Here is the scenario:

You have a great team that get the job done just the way you want them to. You have a meeting request from one of your team members. In the meeting they announce that they are pregnant and that they will need to plan Maternity Leave.

How to turn this situation into a positive one…

One of the key reasons I have written this blog is to outline the positives that this situation can bring to your business. Handling Shared Parental Leave positively can really add value to your business, here’s how…

1. You have a team that know you care about them – which helps in making them more engaged in the business and you as their boss.

2. You get an employee who commits to you as a business even though they are going through a life changing personal event. Someone you can rely on to return to their role after their period of time out.

3. Should they decide not to return then you have the opportunity to hire new blood for the business.

 

What should you do?

Now obviously the scenario is different for each employee and each employer alike but the amount of people that we have calling our helpline to ask what they can do to:

a) Get rid of them? Because they can’t afford to keep them.

b) Get out of paying full maternity leave.

Well firstly, let me confirm that both are not something that can even be considered as they are against employment laws in the UK. 

Secondly, Parental Leave is not something that you should worry too much about, yes it’s a disruption, but if you deal with things quickly, replacements can be found and hand-overs given to ensure you have a team that can continue to deliver even when one of them is off on Maternity/Paternity/Adoption leave.

How can we afford to hire a replacement AND pay for parental leave?

We get it! It’s a daunting process to be faced with and you may think costly! But think again, it’s one of the main worries our clients have. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back – As an employer you get your statutory maternity pay back. As a tax rebate against your payroll rather than actual cash (but you get the money back and in some cases for smaller business you actually get up a little more than you pay to help you out!)

This means you have the cash to replace your leaver during their maternity leave. The only additional pay you will need to find is for the handover period where you have two people doing the job so two salaries to pay but it’s worth it to ensure a smooth handover and to have someone onsite who knows the ropes.

 

The basics facts you need to know:

The new rules that kick in 5th April 2015 are complex and even HR experts are still trying to get our heads around them. The key thing to remember is that planning is essential.

There are fears over information security and legal challenges to maternity benefits – Shared Parental Leave means that either mother or father can opt to take the maternity leave.

1. Shared Parental leave applies to births or adoptions expected on or after 5th April 2015 in England, Scotland and Wales.

2. Additional Paternity Leave will be abolished on the 5th April 2015.

3. The mother must take a minimum of two weeks Maternity Leave, or four if she is a factory worker. The remaining leave, to a total of 52 weeks, can be shared between parents (or a mother and her partner).

4. For the mother’s partner to qualify, they must have worked at least 26 of the last 66 weeks and earned at least £30 per week on average in 13 of those weeks.

5. The mother must be eligible for either Maternity Pay, Leave or Maternity Allowance, and have been employed for at least 26 weeks but he end of the 16th week before the child’s due date.

6. Parents can take the leave together or separately in up to three separate blocks, although employer agreements are required (from both employers).

7. Planning is essential as potentially anyone in your business could be off for up to 50 weeks.

8. Statutory Shared Parental Pay (£138.18 per week) is available for up to 37 weeks.

9. For full eligibility requirements see: http://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-employer-guide.

The difficulties:

– Eligibility – It can be difficult to work out who is eligible, qualifying periods (length of service, employment status and earnings) all need to be taken into consideration for both parties. One person could be eligible and the other not.

– Dealing with multiple blocks of leave will be a challenge to co-ordinate

– Parents’ individual employers need to agree and communicate!

– Employers need to be mindful of data protection and handling employees personal information. Details of maternity plans and pay should not be divulged directly and will need to be handled sensitively.

– Enhanced maternity pay structures will need to be offered to fathers as well as mothers – to ensure equality rights are protected.

 

Confused?

HR Revolution is here to help, should you have any questions, we will work with you to devise a plan of action and work through the legislation that affects you and your business to ensure your employees are informed, your workforce is supported and your business continues to perform.

Spring Employment Law Changes

The recent Employment Law changes that you need to know about:

5th April:

– Shared parental leave rights applied to babies due/children matched for adoption.

– Parental leave, which is unpaid, was extended to parents of children under 18 years (previously the leave had to be taken before the child’s fifth birthday, unless the child was adopted or disabled).

– Additional Paternity Leave ceased to be available, although the rights continue until April 2016 to cater for parents of babies due, or children matched for adoption, before this date (usually the leave can only start 20 weeks after the child’s birth or matching, and must be taken within a year of that date).

– Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental and Adoption Pay increased from £138.18 to £139.58.

6th April:

– Statutory Sick Pay increased from £87.55 to £88.45. Limits on a week’s pay (used for calculating redundancy and unfair dismissal basic awards) increased from £464 to £475

– Maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payment rose from £13,920.00 to £14,250.00.

– Cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal went up from £76,574 to £78,335.

1st October:

– New NMW rates apply from 1 October 2015. The Government is planning to launch a new online tool, called the National Minimum Wage Accelerator, which will compare rates of pay across regions, sectors and occupations, drawing on data collected annually by the Office for National Statistics.

Future law changes

A New Fit for Work service available for employees with sickness absence of four weeks or more. The new Fit for Work service is scheduled to be introduced in England and Wales over the next year, offering employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more.

The service can also be used to provide more generalised open-access occupational health advice to employees, employers and general practitioners, regardless of the duration of any sickness. Employers will be able to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme.

More information can be found by asking your HR Manager or reviewing details on www.cipd.co.uk.

HRREV Blogger, HR Revolution | HR Outsourcing UK

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