The Mysterious World of Shared Parental Leave

There is so much confusion around the concept of shared parental leave, it is not surprising that less than 2% of eligible people take it up.  So here is a guide……

A mother (partner) can choose to end their maternity (adoption) leave early (after the 2 weeks compulsory leave following the birth or adoption).  This means that up to 50 weeks of leave can effectively be shared.  This can be divided up and taken separately or together.

If the mother has not used her full entitlement of 39 weeks statutory maternity pay (currently £140.94 a week or 90% of earnings whichever is the lower) this may also be paid.

Parents can stop and start their shared parental leave and return to work between periods of leave with each eligible parent able to submit 3 notices to book periods of leave.

During shared parental leave, the contract of employment continues in force and employees are entitled to receive all contractual benefits except for salary.

Annual leave will continue to accrue throughout the period of shared parental leave.

A parent wanting to take shared parental leave is required to satisfy the “continuity of employment test” and their partner must meet the “employment and earnings test”.

Continuity of employment test – the individual has worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the child’s expected due date/matching date (for adoption) and will still be working for the employer at the start of each leave period.

Employment and earnings test – In the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s expected due date/matching date, the person has worked for at least 26 weeks and earned an average of at least £30 per week (currently) a week in any 13 weeks.

Any employee who wishes to take shared parental leave must first give their line manager notification of their entitlement and intention, at least 8 weeks before they want the period of leave to commence.

An eligible employee has the right to submit 3 separate notifications specifying the leave periods that they intend to take.

SPL can only be taken in complete weeks but may start on any day of the week e.g. if it began on a Tuesday it would finish on a Monday.

Up to 20 ‘shared parental leave keep in touch days’ maybe agreed by both parties

A request for a single uninterrupted period of leave e.g. several weeks in a row cannot be refused, as long as it does not exceed the total number of weeks available and providing the Company has been given at least 8 weeks’ notice.

Where an employee requests a pattern of leave where they return to work in between, requests can be considered on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the reasons for the request and the impact on the Company but if it is not possible to accommodate it, the request may be declined.


So there we are…….simple!


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