shared parental leave

In our times, society has finally understood that both parents want to spend time with their baby. And thus comes Shared Parental Leave!

The new Shared Parental Leave policy (SPL) allows mummy and daddy to decide how to split the Statutory Maternity Leave between the two of them. Keep reading to learn all about it!


What is Shared Parental Leave?

Shared Parental Leave is a recent improvement of maternity rights, and has been applied in the UK for all babies born or adopted from 5 April 2015 on. This new policy lets parents share that time given to spend with the new baby, and mummy and daddy can decide how to split it! To have the right for SPL, mummy will need to cut down her maternity or adoption leave.


And what about Shared Parental Pay?

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) has been introduced together with Shared Parental Leave. It is similar to Statutory Maternity Pay, but in this case it’s your partner who needs to apply. Like with SPL, the mother will have to end her maternity pay, maternity allowance or adoption pay early so her other half can apply. Besides, if mummy wasn’t eligible for maternity pay and had to settle for maternity allowance, you may still be eligible to get ShPP. So it can be quite convenient in many cases!


What exactly are we entitled to when applying?

If you are eligible for this new policy, you are entitled to the following:

  • Leave: You, remember that maternity leave is 52 weeks, right? Well, your Shared Parental Leave will be also of 52 weeks but minus any weeks of maternity leave mum took! The only limit are those two compulsory weeks mummy needs to take right after birth, which gives SPL a maximum of 50 weeks.
  • Pay: Maternity pay was 39 weeks, so your Shared Parental Pay will be of those 39 weeks minus any weeks of maternity pay or maternity allowance mummy took for right after birth.


Can we share it?

Yes! Imagine a new mum took 15 weeks of maternity leave and pay (we will consider she was eligible for both) so she could be with the baby right after birth. She and her partner will have 37 weeks left for Shared Parental Leave and 24 for Shared Parental Pay. They can decide how to split this time they have left in whatever way is more convenient for the both of them!


How much money will we receive with Shared Parental Pay?

ShPP is pretty similar to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP): The rate is still £139,58 or the 90% of what you make a week (whichever amount is lower). The only difference with SMP is that the latter is paid at the 90% rate during the first 6 weeks, even if that amount is higher than that initial £139,58.


When does it start?

You and hubby can only start your Shared Parental Leave once your baby is born, and only after having ended your maternity leave (and giving your employer your notice). Same thing with your Shared Parental Pay.

Besides this, since SPL can be shared between mum and dad, you can take it in separate blocks, unlike your maternity leave, that you have to take all in one go. You and your partner will have to make a decision about it!


Are we eligible for SPL?

Both of the parents will have to qualify for eligibility separately, for both Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay.

First of all, your eligibility will depend on whom you share your SPL with. It will have to be one of the following:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • The other parent of the baby
  • Your partner (if he or she lives with you and the baby) 

Second, at least one of you two will have to be eligible for maternity pay or leave, adoption pay or leave or for Maternity Allowance.

Finally, you will have to meet the following work-related criteria:

  • You have been employed by the same person or company for a minimum of 26 weeks previous to 15 weeks before your due date
  • During your SPL, you will work for the same employer

And this is not all! There are some requirements concerning your partner as well:

  • From 66 weeks before the due date, he or she has worked for at least 26 of them
  • They were paid at least a total of £390 in 13 of those weeks

This requirements can be met as a worker, an employee or a self-employed person. However, that is different for Shared Parental Pay (see below).


And for ShPP?

The requirements to be eligible for ShPP need to be met as an employee and they are the following:

And as a worker, you will qualify if you’re eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Paternity Pay.


How can we apply?

First of all, you need to give written notice to your employer to be entitled to both your leave and your pay. For this you can use the ACAS forms. You can make modifications to how much leave or pay you will take if you and your partner change your decision, but you will have to notify those changes at least 8 weeks before your leave starts.

You employer may ask for a copy of the birth certificate, an official declaration of the date and place of birth or the name and contact of your partner’s employer. If your employer does ask for this information, you will have to submit it within 14 days.


I need some more information about SPL.

If you still have doubts about Shared Parental Leave and need some more information or help, you can check the UK Government’s site. You can also: