Shared Parental Leave: the facts and figures

A recent legal case about Shared Parental Pay has thrown some doubts over whether Shared Parental Pay should be enhanced if Maternity Pay is enhanced.

With the laws still unclear, it’s led to many couples not knowing what they are entitled to. At Foys, our employment solicitors specialise in cases involving equal pay, and we can show you everything you need to know.

What is Shared Parental Leave?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is paid time off work to look after a new child. If you and your partner are either adopting a child or having a baby, then you are permitted to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between you. This does not replace maternity leave, and most employers will inform you of any interactions between the two types of leave, as well as which one you are using.

To be eligible for Shared Parental Pay (ShPP), you must have been in employment for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before your child is due. The standard rate of pay is either 90% of your current earnings or £145.18 per week, whichever is lower. Enhanced pay can be offered at the employer’s discretion, and will vary from company to company. Most offer 100% of basic salary, but some may offer other packages such as 50% for a certain number of weeks.

Enhanced SPL vs Enhanced SMP

Offering enhanced pay is at the discretion of the employer with only the Equality Act 2010 as the primary law to protect employees. The recent legal cases have come to public attention because they touch upon possible discrimination. Some employers have offered enhanced pay to the wife of a couple but not to the husband; while this is perfectly legal, it raises the question of whether the company is discriminating against gender.

So far, the court has ruled that it does not constitute as discrimination, as a woman’s health needs require more money than a man’s while raising a child, but this was only after overturning a previous ruling in the ShPP case. There have been similar cases that have gone the other way, and the employment law surrounding this discrimination remains complicated and difficult to prove.

If you believe you’re entitled to enhanced pay, talk to us today. Our employment law team at Foys Solicitors have experience working for both individuals and companies and will advise you on all aspects of such a situation, allowing you to resolve it quickly and efficiently.

Returning to employment

It is illegal for your employer to either dismiss or otherwise make you redundant because you are on maternity leave, and doing so is considered unfair dismissal as well as pregnancy/maternity discrimination. You can still be made redundant while on leave, but the company must prove that the procedure to select you was fair and for alternative reasons.

As an employee, you have a right to return to the job that you left, but this does not mean that the job role has not changed. In your absence, it’s possible for your position in the company to be revised, and you may come back to a different set of responsibilities, albeit with the same pay. You can still claim against this if you feel that the job is no longer a match for your skills, but it’s best to seek the help of an expert before doing so to see if you have a valid case.

Contact Foys today

At Foys, our team of solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with these cases. Contact us today if you feel you’ve been unfairly dismissed or faced parental leave discrimination. Alternatively, you can use our free initial consultation for legal advice on your situation.

Get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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