In celebration of Father’s Day, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has urged fathers across the UK to consider taking Shared Parental Leave.
As of last April, eligible dads can share up to 39 weeks’ pay and up to 52 weeks of leave with the child’s mother in the first year of their baby’s life.
Parents can take up to 6 months off work at the same time or alternatively stagger their leave and pay so that one of them is always at home with their child.
This gives dads and partners an opportunity to bond with their new-born and many dads and partners will also qualify for statutory pay.
Parents must meet the eligibility criteria in order to take advantage of Shared Parental Leave and pay. Parents can decide how best they split up leave, and whether to take it all at once or in blocks.
The scheme allows parents to book up to 3 separate blocks of Shared Parental Leave instead of taking it all in one go.
To qualify for Shared Parental Leave and Pay, an employee must have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the ‘qualifying week’.
To qualify for pay they must additionally have earned at least the lower earnings level (currently £112 a week) in an 8 week test period.
The other parent must be employed or a self-employed earner who has worked for 26 weeks and earned £30 on average in any 13 of those weeks in the 66 weeks before the week the baby is due.
Shared Parental Leave is also available to new adoptive parents.