Given that Working Families has found that there seems to be widespread confusion over the taking of Maternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave simultaneously by both parents, such guidance is welcomed with open arms.
Some businesses believe that both parents have to be taking Shared Parental Leave for them to be at home at the same time. If this view is widespread it is a fundamental problem with how Shared Parental Leave is being implemented in the workplace.
In brief, as long as a mother has curtailed her maternity leave, then her partner may start their Shared Parental Leave and the new parents can be on leave simultaneously.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families commented: For Shared Parental Leave to be a success both for employers and new parents it is vital that everyone has the correct information to make the right decision for their family circumstances. We anticipate that many parents will want a period of time at home together after the birth of their child.
“To be clear: to achieve this, the mother will have to give notice before the birth to curtail her maternity leave at a date in the future. This will generate a number of weeks of SPL which will be available to her partner to take at a time which suits them both. Her partner can give notice of entitlement to his employer to take SPL and book a period of leave to start, say, after his two weeks of paternity leave. Thus they can all be home together, he on SPL and she on maternity leave and receiving maternity pay.
Curtailment is the new concept. It means that the mother gives notice to bring her maternity leave to an end at a date in the future. Until that date, she continues to be on maternity leave and to be eligible for statutory and/or contractual maternity pay and benefits.