Editor's message: Even if your organisation has not yet had to handle a shared parental leave request, you should still have a process in place and understand the right.
The aim of shared parental leave is to give parents more flexibility over how they share childcare between them during the first year of their child's life. They can take it in turns to have periods of leave to care for the child, and/or take leave at the same time as each other.
There are complex rules on eligibility for shared parental leave and pay and on the notice that employees must give. Whether or not your organisation has to agree to the leave pattern requested is also not straightforward.
Beyond the requirements of the shared parental leave legislation itself, a number of sex discrimination claims have been brought relating to policies of paying enhanced maternity pay but only statutory shared parental pay. The Employment Appeal Tribunal, in Capita Customer Management Ltd v Ali and another EAT/0161/17, has held that one such policy was not discriminatory, but this an area on which employers may want to keep a watchful eye.
Susie Munro, senior employment law editor
We discuss the recent decision of Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police and another, in which the EAT considered the question of whether or not employers are required to enhance statutory shared parental pay where maternity pay is enhanced.
Organisations with 250 staff or more are being urged to publish their shared parental leave policies on their websites to improve transparency and encourage competition on pay.
Recent tribunal decisions have provided some guidance on the legalities of offering enhanced maternity but not enhanced shared parental pay. But that does not mean employers avoid the risk of discrimination completely. Elizabeth Marshall and George Fellows explain.
Updated to highlight the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation, in force from 25 May 2018, on this document.
In Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police and another, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) remitted to a fresh tribunal the issue of whether or not a police force's policy of giving a period of full pay to mothers on maternity leave, but paying only statutory shared parental pay to partners, is indirectly discriminatory.
It is not direct sex discrimination to offer men on shared parental leave statutory pay while at the same time offering enhanced maternity pay, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled today.
In Capita Customer Management Ltd v Ali  IRLR 586 EAT, the EAT held that there was no direct sex discrimination when an employer offered 14 weeks of enhanced maternity pay, but paid only the statutory minimum to employees taking shared parental leave.
Financial barriers are preventing new fathers from taking shared parental leave, with half of prospective fathers admitting that they are unlikely to take advantage of the scheme because they earn more money than their partner when at work.
Updated to include information on Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, in which the EAT considered the correct approach to an indirect sex discrimination claim related to shared parental pay.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to shared parental leave and shared parental pay.