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Acas has published a good practice guidance on Shared Parental Leave

Acas has published new guidance on Shared Parental Leave to help employers and employees navigate what's been described as the biggest shake-up in maternity legislation for a generation.

The new rules allow couples to share maternity or adoption leave and pay, for children due to be born or adopted from 5 April 2015.

Parents will be able to share a 50-week 'pot' of leave, and can decide to be off work at the same time or take turns, or a combination of both. Blocks of leave can be taken continuously between partners or in discontinuous chunks.

As there's so much flexibility in the new system, the guidance recommends that both sides talk early on about what the leave arrangements might be, and how it might be accommodated.

Good practice guidance

The guidance covers the whole Shared Parental Leave process in an at-a-glance step-by-step table, giving employers and employees a grasp on what they should be doing at each stage.

This includes deciding and discussing leave arrangements; notification of eligibility and entitlement; notification and discussion of leave booking; and the outcome of a leave request.

The 42-page guide was produced with input from 'large and small employers, family groups and trade unions, and is designed to ensure working parents and employers alike can understand the new Shared Parental Leave arrangements,' Acas Head of Guidance Stewart Gee said.

'We advise employers and employees to start early with discussions to ensure that they can agree the sort of arrangements which work best for business and working families. We are also running training courses to help employers prepare for the legal changes.'

Acas publications and services

pdf icon Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees [786kb] can be downloaded for free on the Acas website, where further information for Parents and carers on Shared parental leave and pay is also available.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you develop effective policies for working parents; see Parents and carers: how Acas can help for details.

Acas training on Maternity, paternity and adoption will keep you up to speed with all the changes surrounding Shared Parental Leave, as well as improve your understanding of the law in the way it relates to other family-relevant employment legislation.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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