Despite only around 8 per cent of parents expected to utilise the new Shared Parental Leave entitlement, the major reforms mean it is crucial that businesses understand the legislation and its implications, whatever the volume.

A revolutionary reform?

In a bid to offer families greater flexibility, parents can decide who stays at home and who goes to work. This mix and match system means mums and dads can use their leave entitlement at the same time or alternate between them – a great help in establishing care arrangements that suit their family.

It is hoped that this will encourage fathers to play more of an active role in the raising of their child and that mums can return to work at a time that feels right for them. Whilst it all sounds fantastic for parents, the impact on businesses, particularly those smaller in size, can be difficult to manage.

A shake up of payroll

As well as difficulties allocating resources and organising staffing levels, the administrative and financial implications on your in-house payroll team has the potential to cause headaches.

With employees able to take leave in blocks of as little as one week at a time, updating your payroll systems and training staff will be vital to accommodate statutory parental pay to those employees taking Shared Parental Leave. This will enable payments to continue and discontinue when necessary.

Notice and eligibility requirements surrounding Shared Parental Leave are just as complex and calls for employers to liaise with both parents. Getting your contracts and policies up-to-date will therefore ensure your payroll team is well-versed in the changes and minimise the risk of an employment dispute.

For help and advice on Shared Parental leave or any payroll-related matter, contact our payroll manager, Diane Nixon, on 0161 703 2500.