The government is urging dads and fathers-to-be to consider applying for Shared Parental Leave (SPL).
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) allows parents in the UK to share up to 39 weeks’ pay and up to 52 weeks leave. Parents can choose to take up to six months off work at the same time or stagger their leave so that there is always someone to care for their child. The scheme is also open to adoptive parents, same-sex couples and co-habiting couples.
The idea of the scheme is to allow new dads the time to bond with their child and give mothers the opportunity to return to work if they wish.
To qualify for Shared Parental Leave, either parent must have been in the same job for at least 26 weeks. Additionally, to qualify for pay they must be earning at least £112 per week during an eight-week period. The other parent must also be employed or self-employed for those 26 weeks. They must have earned at least £30 on average in any 13 of the 66 weeks before the week the baby is due.
Speaking at time of the announcement of the new scheme, Employment Relations Minister, Jo Swinson said, “Share Parental Leave will kickstart a change where fathers feel empowered to take time off to look after their kids and not feel constrained by outdated stereotypes.”
“We recognise that this isn’t going to be easy for those at the forefront of the change but we also know that for many dads the nerves they feel about having a conversation with their boss around leave will be worth it in the end.”
“Countless research studies show that more time with dads early on leads to better outcomes for children, not to mention the special family bond it creates. We also know that many employers are incredibly supportive and keen to offer mums and dads more flexibility.”
“Employers will see the benefit in terms of staff loyalty and providing women the option to return to work earlier. That’s why employers like Shell, Deloitte, Linklaters, PwC and the civil service are offering parents enhanced shared parental pay in line with their maternity packages.”
To find out more about the Shared Parental Leave scheme and to see if you are eligible, click here.