Back to News

Are the new rules on shared parental leave too complex?

April 2015 saw massive changes to the way in which parents are able to take time off work following the birth or adoption of a child.
In the past, the only available option for new parents was for a mother to take time off work to look after the child. The new rules give parents the option of sharing leave from work after the birth or adoption of a child. Both parents must be in paid work and satisfy certain criteria in order to qualify for Shared Parental Leave and the rules apply to birth parents as well as same sex couples and cohabitees.

The changes do bring a number of positives for couples, including the flexibility for parents to take leave in the child’s first year at the same time as one another, meaning both parents will be there for those precious first months with their child.

However, the complex nature of the rules and criteria has meant that employers have a huge administrative task on their hands when they receive a request for Shared Parental Leave.

Employees also have to first jump through a number of hoops in order to satisfy the criteria – having to provide a number of different notices to their employers at different times, each having to specify certain information.

There is a great deal of concern that all these complexities mean that parents will be put off making requests for leave and employers will have an “administrative nightmare” attempting to deal with any requests that they do receive.

Here at Atherton Godfrey, we understand that the new rules can be a minefield to navigate. Our specialist team can guide you through your options if you are considering Shared Parental Leave.

As an employer, we can advise you on the steps you are required to take if you receive a request for Shared Parental Leave. We can also draft new policies to enable you to put procedures in place for dealing with requests and understanding your obligations relating to Shared Parental Leave. Contact us today, call 01302 320621 or email

Get in touch today