Shared Parental Leave & Pay – what do you need to know?

Mothers have traditionally been the ones to take time off to look after their children when they are born, and the split of 52 weeks’ maternity leave and 39 weeks’ statutory maternity pay, compared to 2 weeks’ paternity leave and statutory paternity meant that few families really had much of a choice in this. It’s now nearly 2 years, however, since the Government introduced Shared Parental Leave (ShPL) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP), with the aim of enabling mothers, fathers, partners of mothers and adopters to share the upbringing of their children in those important first months of life. As I’ve previously reported, the take up of ShPL has been low so far, however, at least partly because ShPL & ShPP are complicated and many people still don’t really know how it works.

So – what do you need to know?

  • How much ShPL & ShPP can you get?
    • If you’re eligible & your partner ends her maternity leave and pay (or Maternity Allowance) early you can:
      • Take the remainder of your partner’s 52 weeks’ maternity (or adoption) leave as ShPL
      • Take the rest of your partner’s statutory maternity (or adoption) pay (or maternity allowance) as ShPP
        • ShPP is £139.58 per week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower (the rate of ShPP is reviewed each year in April)
  • How does it work?
    • You can take leave in blocks – you don’t have to take it all in one go
      • You can take up to 3 separate blocks of ShPL
      • If your partner is eligible you can take up to 3 blocks each
    • You can share the leave if you’re both eligible
      • You and your partner can take ShPL at the same time or different times
    • ShPL & ShPP must be taken between the baby’s birth and first birthday (or within 1 year of adoption)
  • When can ShPL & ShPP start?
    • For ShPL, the mother must have returned to work (which ends maternity or adoption leave) or have given notice that she will be ending her maternity (or adoption) leave
      • You can start ShPL whilst your partner is still on maternity (or adoption) leave, provided she has given notice to end it
    • For ShPP, the mother must give notice of the date she intends her maternity (or adoption) pay (or maternity allowance) to end
      • You can start ShPP whilst your partner is still on maternity (or adoption) pay, provided she has given notice to end it
  • How do you apply for ShPL & ShPP?
    • You have to follow the rules for starting ShPL & ShPP and need to give your employer at least 8 weeks’ written notice of the dates when you intend to take leave
      • Check if your employer has a Shared Parental Leave Policy and if so contact the relevant person (this may be HR, your line manager or a designated person)
      • If your employer doesn’t have a Shared Parental Leave Policy, speak to your line manager or the person who generally deals with personnel issue

If you have any queries about Shared Parental Leave or Pay that aren’t answered in this brief article please contact Helen Kay on or .

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