FAILURE to comply with strict new rules on shared parental leave could leave employers in hot water, warns Baker Tilly.

The new shared parental leave regulations, which came into force on December 1, allow parents to share the upbringing of a child more equally, giving mothers and their partners a greater choice as to how they can look after their child after birth or adoption.

Under the new rules, which apply to parents of babies expected to be born on or after April 5, mothers and their partners are able to share a pot of leave and can take it in turns to be off.

However, accounting and business advisory group Baker Tilly has advised that the process for complying with the rules is not straightforward, and employers should ensure they do not expose themselves to legal risk.

Nita Hutchinson, senior HR consultant at Baker Tilly, said: “While the new rules on shared parental leave offer greater flexibility to expectant parents, the process is going to be challenging for employers.

“They will need to accurately assess eligibility for new shared parental leave, as well as determine the employee’s entitlement to shared parental pay.

“This could cause a real headache, particularly to smaller employers, but failure to comply with the new rules could land them in hot water.”

Baker Tilly advises that all employers should update their policy documents to take account of the new rules and as far as possible to do so, to have on hand procedures and supporting documents to help both them and their employees.