British business urged to avoid employment problems in 2015

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12 February 2015

ARAG200ARAG UK is forecasting another tough year for employers as complex new legislation kicks in. For 2015 a major stumbling block is likely to be shared parental leave and other new parenting rights which were created by the Children and Families Act 2014 and come into effect for births from 5 April this year.

The legislation will allow either parent to take responsibility for their child’s care by co-ordinating up to 50 weeks’ shared leave-taking between employers if necessary. Mothers must still take 2 weeks compulsory maternity leave after the birth and fathers are still entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave. After that leave can be shared in single or multiple blocks of leave but employers will be able to refuse discontinuous leave patterns subject to entering into a two week discussion period. There are a number of notices to be completed which must be provided at least 8 weeks before the proposed Shared Parental Leave (SPL).

All leave must be taken during the first year of the child’s life. There will be 20 additional ‘keep-in-touch’ days to be shared between the parents.

David Haynes, head of underwriting and marketing said, “We know that experienced professionals are sometimes wilting under the pressure of accurately interpreting new rules” adding “but we are here to help get it right. Policyholders can get advice directly from qualified legal advisors and are insured against legal defence costs if disputes arise.”

All ARAG commercial legal protection policies include online and telephone assistance backed up by comprehensive legal defence if an employment dispute arises. In addition, for those customers who want additional peace of mind, the Employment Practices Protection policy focuses on complete cover without the requirement for claims to satisfy “reasonable prospects of success” test following a health check of the policyholder’s employment practices and procedures.

In summary

  • SPL allows an eligible mother or primary adopter to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay (SSPP) with their co-parent.
  • There are a number of eligibility tests that need to be satisfied

In addition

  • Employees can return to work during SPL for up to 20 SPLIT (Shared Parental Leave in Touch) days.
  • Existing terms and conditions continue to apply save in respect of remuneration.
  • Employees are entitled to return to work to the same role or a similar role, depending on the amount of leave taken.
  • Employees are protected from detriment and dismissal in connection with exercising their rights to take SPL.

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