Financial & Legal News

INSIGHT: Businesses Still Unaware of Parental Leave Changes One Month In

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Pearson is warning businesses to seek expert advice on new parental leave legislation after a recent survey revealed not all are aware of the changes.

According to a Close Brothers Business Barometer survey, 17 per cent of small business owners said they were completely unaware of employee rights on the issue of shared parental leave (SPL), which became law in December 2014 and came into force on 1 April 2015.

Now Susan Mayall, head of employment at Pearson, has urged small businesses to consult professional guidance at the earliest opportunity or risk breaking the law.

Susan commented: “While these changes mark a positive step forward for women in the workplace, enabling more men to spend time with their newborn or newly adopted children, the complexity of SPL legislation makes it difficult for small business owners to implement without the help of an expert.

“Employers also need to educate themselves about their rights too”, Susan added. “For example, while they are obliged to accept a request for one continuous period of SPL, they have two weeks to respond to any leave notices that request discontinuous leave periods and will have the right to refuse the request or propose alternatives.

“The new legislation also entitles the employer to request a copy of the child’s birth certificate or adoption papers, as well as the contact details of the other parent’s employers to prevent abuse of the system.”

The SPL system enables parents to divide the full 50-week parental leave and 37-week entitlement either consecutively or concurrently and to take it in a number of discontinuous blocks if they prefer.

Under the new terms parents can take time off together, have the flexibility for the mother to return to work early or to alternate leave between parents separately - as long as the total leave does not exceed the time jointly available to the couple.

For more information about SPL and how it works, please call Susan Mayall on 0161 822 0677 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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