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 Court of Appeal, in Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd; Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police v Hextall  EWCA Civ 900 CA, held that such policies were not discriminatory, but this is an area on which employers may want to keep a watchful eye.
Susie Munro, senior employment law editor
HR and legal information and guidance relating to shared parental leave and shared parental pay.