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Auto Time is advising organisations to have the right technology in place to ease the administration burden of legislative changes, after the Government announced plans to extend the right of Shared Parental Leave to include working grandparents.

Under proposals due to come into force from 2018, new parents and grandparents will be able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks’ pay – currently £139.58 a week or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings.

The extension of Shared Parental Leave is aimed at helping single mothers or in situations where both parents are keen to return to work early.

A balancing act

Research suggests that two million grandparents have given up a job, reduced their hours or taken time off work to look after their grandchildren, saving families £11bn each year in childcare costs.

Christian Berenger, Operations Director at Auto Time says: “Currently 3 in 5 grandparents (7.5milllion) regularly provide childcare to their grandchildren, to help parents save on childcare costs. Extending the legislation acknowledges the contribution of grandparents and provides parents with greater flexibility to balance their work with their caring commitments.”

With many employers still getting to grips with how to administer the first phase of Shared Parental Leave introduced in April 2015, this announcement is expected to add an extra level of complexity to the workloads of HR and Payroll Teams.

Simplifying the administration

Integrated Workforce Management systems provide the tools to help HR and Payroll Teams confidently administer Shared Parental Leave rules and automate the entire process.

By storing workforce data in a single centralised system, managers can quickly establish whether an individual meets the meets qualifying criteria for Shared Parental Leave.

Trigger points can be modified to guide employees and managers through the process, with alerts configured to highlight when and what documentation is required to comply with timing requirements.  For example, a signed ‘period of leave notice’ is required at least eight weeks’ before the leave is due to start whilst employers have 14 days  after the birth to request birth / adoption certificates and receive partner’s employer details.

Self-Service portals empower employees to request their leave direct to line managers, making the process more efficient and easier.

Greater transparency of the entire process allows managers to better allocate and record periods of discontinuous leave, with remaining entitlements easily accessible to both parties.

From here, managers can proactively plan their workflow and schedules to cover the absence period.

Integration with payroll software streamlines the process further, with statutory pay rates applied correctly so that staff are paid accurately for the time they take off.

Preparation is key

Christian Berenger adds: “Workforce Management systems can play an integral role in simplifying the administration of Shared Parental Leave, helping organisations to better support working families by carefully considering each request and the possible business.

“Although the extension to include grandparents is three years away, it is important for managers to consider how they will approach its administration.”

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News, Hints & Tips - October 2015