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Changes to adoption and parental leave

Print publication

16/01/2015

Employers are currently focused on having the correct policies and forms in place for shared parental leave but they should not overlook the fact that there are a number of additional changes to adoption and parental leave due to come into force from 5 April 2015. These changes will also require an update to existing parental leave workplace policies and are as follows:

Since 1 October 2014:

  • Expectant partners (male or female) are entitled to attend up to two unpaid ante-natal appointments with their pregnant partner.

From 5 April 2015:

  • Employees proposing to adopt a child will be entitled to time off work to attend up to 5 pre-adoption appointments. The time off must be paid where the employee is adopting the child on their own. If the employee is adopting jointly then one of the parents may elect to receive the time off as paid and the other will be entitled to take the time off as unpaid.
  • Adoption leave will become a ‘day one’ right, with no qualifying service.
  • Adoption pay will be enhanced to 90% of pay for the first 6 weeks (mirroring statutory maternity pay).
  • Parents fostering a child under the ‘Fostering to Adopt’ scheme and eligible surrogate parents will be eligible for adoption leave and shared parental leave.
  • The period within which ‘ordinary’ unpaid parental leave can be taken is to be extended so that parents will be able to take parental leave at any time up to the child’s 18th birthday, rather than (as at present) before the child’s 5th birthday.

Finally, the statutory rate of shared parental pay, maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £138.18 to £139.58 from 5 April 2015.

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