Shared Parental Leave and other parental rights

The new shared parental leave scheme takes full effect from 5 April 2015, though employers should note that because the eligibility is based on due date not date of birth, premature births before 5 April may be caught, while late births after that date may not be. For a basic outline of the regime, see this article, and for more detailed advice, including a review of your policies, contact Lucy McLynn or Louise McCartney.

Ordinary parental leave, the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave per eligible child, is also being extended. Previously, parents could take parental leave only in relation to children aged under 5, unless the child was disabled, in which case the age limit was under 18. From 5 April, the age limit will be under 18 for all children.

At the same time, adoptive parents’ rights are being harmonised with those of birth parents, by removing the 26 weeks’ continuous service requirement for adoption leave and allowing adopting employees paid time off to have contact with their adoptive child. Adoption pay will also increase.

Pension rights

From 6 April 2015, those aged 55 or over will have a range of new options available to them as to how they access their pensions. While access to pensions was previously limited in most cases to purchase of an annuity, the government’s stated intention is that people will be able to draw on a pension fund “whenever and however they wish after the age of 55”. The available options will include entering a scheme pension, purchasing an annuity, choosing to enter drawdown or even withdrawing a lump sum to be invested by the owner. Citizens Advice Bureaux will be offering free pensions advice under the government’s PensionWise scheme to help employees understand their rights.

National insurance for young workers

From 6 April 2015, employers’ NI will not be due for employees up to age 21, on earnings up to the upper secondary threshold (£156 per week from 6 April).

Changes to other rates and limits

The following rates will be increased:

  • From 5 April: Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Shared Parental Pay - £139.58 per week
  • From 6 April: Statutory Sick Pay - £88.45 per week
  • From 6 April: Limit on unfair dismissal compensation - £78,335.00
  • From 6 April: Limit on a week’s pay (for redundancy/basic award) - £475 per week

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Louise McCartney

Senior Associate

+44(0)20 7551 7699

View full information about Louise McCartney
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Lucy McLynn


+44(0)20 7551 7806

View full information about Lucy McLynn

Posted on 01/04/2015 in Legal Updates

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