In a recent case, the first of its kind, a father has won a case against his employer after they denied him more than two weeks paternity leave and therefore failed to allow him the full paternity rights of which he was entitled. His employer argued that Mr Ali was not entitled to additional leave because 'he couldn't give birth'.
Mr Ali won his case, after the Tribunal said that his employer had gone against the Equality Act 2010 and had not applied the new Shared Parental Leave rules. The new parental leave rules were introduced in April 2015, and mean that parents can now share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay, between them. This also applies to those who are adopting.
The Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme allow parents to decide how best to split their parental leave based on their circumstances and creates equal opportunity for both mum and dad.
So long as you are eligible, your employer cannot lawfully deny you shared parental leave. You should first check whether you are eligible and then give notice of your intentions to your employer. You can check whether you are eligible by visiting the government's website. In order to ascertain whether or not you are eligible they will require the following information;
- your employment status (e.g. employed or worker)
- the date you started your current job
- the date you finished work (if you've finished)
- how much you earn
- when you want your leave to start
- how much leave you want to take
Parents are not obliged to take Shared Parental Leave. Unless they qualify for and opt into the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme the only entitlement that the child's father (or mother's partner) has is two weeks' ordinary paternity leave and pay.
The Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme enables mothers and primary adopters to return to work before the end of their maternity leave entitlement. The unclaimed leave can then be taken up by the other parent under the shared parental leave rules, meaning they do not have to sacrifice any remaining leave that would otherwise be available to them.
Where both parents are employed and wish to utilise shared parental leave, it is important they notify their employer at an early stage and discuss this with them in order to ensure the required steps are followed.
For more information on Employment Law for Individuals please see our Employment Law page.
For information on Employment Law for Business please see our Employment Law page for Businesses.