Family leave rights have been going through a significant shake up with the introduction, amongst other changes, of shared parental leave. The continued focus on the position of women at work, the on-going gender pay gap, and the shift in the way working parents view their family and working responsibilities mean that the issue of family leave remains highly topical.

As with the existing family leave rights, the new right to shared parental leave is simple in theory – and yet complex to implement in practice.

To help employers understand the entitlements and obligations involved in each of the different types of family leave, we have put together a guide to the key facts and figures in relation to leave and pay.

It’s not intended to be a textbook on family leave rights, but rather a quick access to the key information you may need on a day to day basis. The guide sets out the law as at 5 April 2015.

An overview of the key changes:

  • Maternity, ordinary paternity and adoption leave rights remain with changes to align adoption leave and pay with maternity entitlements.
  • Shared parental leave is available to employees who qualify (on birth or adoption of a child).
  • Additional paternity leave is only available in respect of babies/children born or placed before 5 April 2015.
  • Unpaid parental leave is extended to parents of children under 18.
  • Partners of pregnant women are entitled to unpaid time off to attend two ante-natal appointments.
  • Main adopters are entitled to paid time off to attend five adoption appointments.
  • Secondary adopters are entitled to unpaid time off to attend two introductory adoption appointments.