What is Shared Parental Leave? How does it work and who is eligible? Find out all you need to know here.
What is Shared Parental Leave? Shared parental leave (SPL) is the process where you can share the full joint entitlement of maternity and paternity leave, and pay, with your partner once your baby is born. Qualifying parents can share up to 50 weeks’ leave from two weeks after the birth of the child until the child’s first birthday.
Parents can alternate the time off or be off work at the same time and can each take up to three separate blocks of leave or use it up in one go. Periods of leave must be of a week’s duration or more.
The following people are eligible:
If both parents want to take SPL and get Shared Parental Pay, they must:
If either is a ‘worker’, they can share ShPP but not SPL. If either earns less than £116 a week, they can share SPL but not ShPP.
If just the mother’s partner or just the mother wants to take SPL, they must:
The other partner [the mother or mother’s partner] must:
A mother must take a minimum of two weeks’ maternity leave following the birth of the child (four weeks if they work in a factory).
If an employee is eligible for SPL and they or their partner end maternity or adoption leave and pay (or Maternity Allowance) early, then they can:
Sometimes only one parent in a couple is eligible to get SPL and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). This means that they cannot share the leave between them.
Shared Parental Pay is paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance or at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is lower than the rate set by the Government for the relevant tax year.
In order for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to start, the mother or adopter must do one of the following:
The mother must give the employer at least eight weeks’ notice to end her maternity pay, or give the same notice to Jobcentre Plus to end her maternity allowance. Adopters must give employers notice to end adoption pay.
SPL can start for you while the mother or adopter is still on maternity or adoption leave, provided that she has given notice to end her maternity leave.
You must give the employer written notice of your entitlement to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) (by means of a notice of entitlement and intention), including:
You must give your your employer your SPL request with at least eight weeks’ notice of any leave you wish to take. If the child is born more than eight weeks early, this notice period can be shorter.
Both you and your partner can give your employer up to three separate notices in order to ‘book’ the periods of leave you wish to take. Each notice can be for a block of leave, or the notice may be for a pattern of “discontinuous” leave involving different periods of leave.
If you ask for discontinuous blocks of leave in a notification your employer can refuse and require that the total weeks of leave in the notice to be taken in a single continuous block.
After receiving this notice, your employer can ask for:
The mother or adopter may be able to change their decision to end maternity or adoption leave early if both:
One of the following must also apply:
Employees can work for up to 20 days during SPL without bringing it to an end. These are called ‘shared parental leave in touch’ (or SPLIT) days. These SPLIT days may be to discuss plans for your return to work, training to ease the return to work or to update you on developments at work during their absence.
These days are in addition to the 10 ‘keeping in touch’ (KIT) days already available to those on maternity or adoption leave.
During SPL, all terms and conditions of the employee’s contract except normal pay will continue.