Regulations implementing various changes to parental / family-friendly rights came into force on 1 December 2014 and will apply to parents from 5 April 2015, together with the new shared parental leave and pay regime.

These include:

  • An extension of the current unpaid parental leave regime to allow qualifying parents to take parental leave to look after a child up to the age of 18 years, (increased from the age of five years).  This applies to employees who already have children and so some employees who did not use all of their leave entitlement before their child's fifth birthday could now find that their unused leave is revived;
  • An extension to the current adoption system to include parents fostering a child under the "Fostering for Adoption" scheme and for those adopting from overseas; and
  • New paternity, adoption and shared parental leave/pay rights for parents in a surrogacy arrangement who have obtained a parental order in respect of the child.