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the next few months many businesses will receive their first requests from parents to use the new shared parental leave and pay regime, in force for babies due or children adopted from 5 April 2015. Mothers will be able to opt into the regime and
share 50 out of 52 weeks' leave and 37 out of 39 weeks' statutory pay with the other parent.There are hopes that the new regime will bring in a cultural change towards shared parenting, with the side-effect of reducing the disadvantage mothers
suffer at work due to taking childcare leave. Best practice employers will want to embrace these aims, but the new regime also presents certain practical challenges for businesses. Preparation is key.
A key issue for businesses will be the extent to which you can or should offer enhanced pay during periods of SPL, particularly if you enhance maternity pay. Businesses wishing to support culture change should bear in mind the evidence suggesting
that levels of take-up will be largely determined by whether statutory pay is enhanced.The Government line is that there is no need to enhance pay during SPL even where maternity pay is enhanced, on the basis that there cannot be any (direct)
sex discrimination as both female and male parents on SPL are treated alike. But the legal position is not as clearcut as the Government suggests; there remains the potential for other claims such as indirect discrimination and unlawful detriment.
Businesses will need to assess the likelihood of claims and the level of risk when deciding their pay st
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