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Shared parental leave. What the change in the law will mean for you.

Published 19 January 2015

Mums and their partners can expect to share a great deal of fresh experiences after welcoming a new arrival.

Previously working dads barely had time to get to know their newborn before being forced to leave mum holding the baby, and return to work after two weeks paid leave.

A radical shake-up in maternity and paternity rights means parental leave can now be shared following the birth or adoption of a child.

From April 2015 expectant working couples or those matched or placed with children will qualify to share up 50 weeks of leave.

After an initial two weeks, 37 weeks of pay can be shared.

Employers and employees are being encouraged to make themselves familiar with the new rules, as getting it wrong could result in a claim for discrimination.

Unlike flexible working time requests employers cannot refuse an application for shared parental leave if given at least eight weeks’ notice.

To ensure both partners are not taking a full year off, each will have to make a legally binding declaration stating what share they will take, which can be checked by HMRC to prevent fraud.

Acas has drawn up a useful guide to the rules.

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