Increases for statutory paid leave


The Government has recently confirmed some new changes to statutory paid leave, which has been especially welcomed by parents to be.

Pay increases

From April 2015:

  • Statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, additional paternity and shared parental pay will increase to £139.58 a week

This additional paternity leave and pay will not be available in respect of babies whose expected week of childbirth is before 5 April 2015, or for children who are placed for adoption before that date.

From 6 April 2015:

  • the weekly rate of statutory sick pay will increase to £88.45
  • the statutory limit on a gross week’s pay will increase to £475

The statutory limit on a gross week’s pay is used to calculate, amongst other things, statutory redundancy, the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal and determining the upper limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal.

Shared Parental Leave

These pay increases have come at an ideal time for parents to be, coinciding with the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP).

Shared Parental Leave allows parents to share leave following the birth or adoption of their child (if due, matched or placed for adoption after 5 April 2015). After an initial two weeks, up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay can be shared. The pattern of leave must be agreed between the employee and employer with eight weeks’ notice.

It is estimated that about 285,000 working couples would be eligible to share leave under the new rules, although uptake is expected to be slow if the main breadwinner in the family is the father and only entitled to statutory paternity pay.

How this will affect employers

Whilst the statutory pay rises are part of the government’s annual review and will have no real effect on employers, the complexity of the shared parental leave initiative is expected to cause many a headache for employers.

The government has allowed individual employers to decide whether to extend enhanced maternity pay (a payment over and above the statutory minimum) to all new parents taking shared parental leave. It may be the case that some employers decide to withdraw enhanced maternity rights and pay rather than extend the same to new fathers. Enhanced paternity pay as well as maternity pay could increase staff costs considerably.

This sharing of leave may also make it more difficult to find quality cover staff as it will be more difficult to find specialist staff for a few months instead of a typical 10-12 month ‘maternity contract’.
Employers are therefore urged to introduce a shared parental leave policy as soon as possible which will assist both employers and employees going forward.

Employers are therefore urged to introduce a Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Pay policy as soon as possible which will assist both employers and employees going forward. 

Find out more 

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has developed an online calculator in light of all these new changes. The calculator is designed to help prospective parents calculate their eligibility for shared parental leave and their pay entitlements.

Acas has also produced a Good Practice Guide for employers and employees.

If you are an employer and want to include this new policy in your staff handbook please contact our Employment Department for advice. We can offer a fixed fee service for policies and procedures.

Many of our clients have welcomed the opportunity to have aspects of their employment structure reviewed; from the contracts and policies in place, to grievance procedures and disputes and various other employment related issues. We are happy to have an initial meeting with employers FREE OF CHARGE to assess your requirements and provide a fixed price or menu of charges for any work or advice needed.

This article was written by Alex Pearce, Associate Solicitor in the Employment Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at March 2015.


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