The 'Shared Parental Leave' programme - how it benefits you

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The new Shared Parental Leave system may offer you and your partner the opportunity to split your maternity and paternity leave between you. Depending on how you choose to divide up your leave this could help you maintain a presence at work while still getting to spend important time bonding with your child early on.

If your baby was or is born after April 2015, then you and your partner may qualify under the new scheme. Shared Parental Leave allows you to break your leave up into blocks, rather than taking it over a single period, and to share it between you and your partner. If you and your partner both intend to continue working after your child is born this can allow you to maintain your presence at work while still having someone at home to care for your child during the working week.

Sally Martin, Associate Director at Robert Walters comments, “Under the new system, caring for a newborn child can be a much more evenly shared responsibility. Parents can use the entitlement to effectively allow them both to work ‘part time’ for several months, using the leave to allow each of them time off over different periods with at least one of them present to care for their child every day.”

However, do bear in mind that if you choose to take your Parental Leave over different periods your employer has the right to refuse your request (they cannot refuse if you choose to take it as a single block).

To maximise your chances of your employer agreeing to your suggested leave plan, we suggest the following:

  • Give them as much notice of your plans as possible
  • Work with them to develop a strategy for how your leave plan can work around the responsibilities of your job
  • Be clear about your motivations – explain that you are committed to maintaining the momentum of your career and that’s why you want to sustain a presence at work during your maternity leave

For professional women planning to return to work following their maternity leave, this new system gives them the opportunity to remain involved in life at work while still getting to spend important time with their new child.

Under the new system, caring for a newborn child can be a much more evenly shared responsibility

Even choosing to work one day a week can make returning to your employer full-time after maternity leave significantly smoother. By keeping up a regular presence at work, professionals are able to maintain relationships and stay aware of news and changes taking place in the company.

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