Thursday, 16 October 2014

Update your employment policies ACAS guidance on shared parental leave and ante-natal appointments

ACAS has published a detailed guidance note on the new shared parental leave rules.

Key Points are listed as follows:

'Employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance
If they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early and, with her partner or the child's father, will be able to opt for Shared Parental Leave instead of Maternity Leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements and both qualify, they will need to decide how they divide their total Shared Parental Leave and Pay entitlement between them
Paid Paternity Leave of two weeks will continue to be available to fathers and a mother's or adopter's partners
Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to Shared Parental leave and pay
Intended parents in surrogacy who meet certain criteria will be eligible for statutory adoption leave and pay and Shared Parental Leave and Pay'

Please also remember when updating your Maternity/Paternity policies that From 1 October 2014 expectant fathers, or the partner of a pregnant woman, will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend antenatal appointments with their partner. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has produced a guide for employers (which works equally well for employees).

Employees accompanying the expectant mother to her ante-natal appointments are entitled to unpaid leave for 1 or 2 appointments. The time off is capped at six and a half hours for each appointment.
The Government is aiming to achieve greater involvement of both of the child’s parents from the earliest stages of pregnancy.

An employer is not entitled to ask for any evidence of the ante-natal appointments, such as an appointment card, as this is the property of the expectant mother attending the appointment.
However, an employer is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, that the employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an ante-natal appointment with the expectant mother that has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife.

Charles Price is a Direct Access Barrister with 15 years experience 07846692325

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