Shared Parental Leave Regulations Now in Force

The big employment law news of the week was that the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) (and pay) regulations allowing parents to take SPL in the first year after their child’s birth or adoption, came into force on 1 December 2014. SPL will not apply immediately as it is available in respect of children who are expected to be born on or after 5 April 2015 or who are placed for adoption on or after that date.

Whilst potentially, the impact on working practices could be huge (bar the first two weeks after the child is born, men and women will be entitled to share parental leave equally), the practical implications remain to be seen. A recent survey suggested that 42% of men would only take the minimum period of paternity leave and only one in four thought parents should share leave evenly. It has been suggested that this was due to a reluctance to lose out on pay and “status”.

As has often proved to be the case with legislative development in the employment world, it may well take some time before cultural and social change follow legal change.

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