SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE: Do you qualify for Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay? If so, you or your partner can end your maternity or adoption leave early.
Eligibility to start Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) depends on:
- Whether your baby was due on or born after the 5th of April 2015.
- Whether you adopted a child on or after the 5th of April 2015.
Qualification means you can use SPL to take leave in blocks. Instead of taking time off in a single block, you can separate periods of work.
But, the mother must end her maternity leave to start SPL or ShPP. That means ending maternity leave to get SPL or Maternity Allowance or maternity pay to get ShPP. If the mother ends her Maternity Allowance or pay early then her partner may still qualify for SPL.
Likewise, those who are adopting should end any adoption leave or any adoption pay early too. Providing you are eligible you can choose to take:
- Any remaining leave as Shared Parental Leave (52 weeks less maternity or adoption leave).
- Remaining pay as Statutory Shared Parental Pay (39 weeks less maternity pay, maternity allowance, or adoption pay).
What happens if neither of you can get maternity or adoption leave? In this case SPL would be 52 weeks minus any weeks of maternity pay, Maternity Allowance or adoption pay.
Note: If you are both eligible you can share Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay.
Example of Shared Parental Leave Policy
An example could be if a mother and her partner are both eligible for SPL and ShPP. The mother ends her maternity leave and pay after 14 weeks, leaving 38 weeks available for SPL and 25 weeks available for ShPP. In this case the parents can choose how to split this leave.
Note: You must take SPL and ShPP in a period between childbirth and your baby’s first birthday. The same entitlement applies within one year of child adoption.
Shared Parental Leave Eligibility Criteria
A separate qualification applies for each parent to start Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). But if you are eligible, you can take leave in separate blocks.
That policy is more flexible than taking it all in one go like maternity or adoption leave. Eligible partners can also share the time off between each other.
The government maternity planner lets you check whether you can get leave and pay, SPL, and ShPP.
Shared Parental Leave
There are several qualifications needed for Shared Parental Leave. You must share some responsibility for the child with at least one of these people:
- Your spouse (husband or wife), civil partner, or a joint adopter.
- The other parent of the child.
- Your partner (in cases where your partner lives with you and the child).
Either you or your partner must qualify for Maternity Allowance, maternity pay or leave, or adoption pay or leave. To qualify you must also:
- Have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date (or by the date you get matched with your adopted child).
- Stay with the same employer while you take Shared Parental Leave.
There are several other rules for your partner. In the 66 weeks before the week of the expected birth (or the week you get matched with your adopted child) your partner must:
- Have been working for at least 26 weeks (they do not need to be consecutive weeks).
- Have earned at least £390 in total in 13 of the 66 weeks by adding up the highest paying weeks (they do not need to be consecutive).
Statutory Shared Parental Pay
How do you qualify to get ShPP? Employees qualify if one of these apply:
- You qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).
- You qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and your partner qualifies for SMP, Maternity Allowance (MA) or SAP.
Workers can also get ShPP if they are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Paternity Pay.
When Does Parental Shared Leave Start?
There are conditions to start Shared Parental Leave (SPL) or Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). You must wait until the child has been born or got placed for adoption.
Shared Parental Leave Start Date
For SPL to begin the mother (or the one getting the adoption leave) must either:
- Go back to work – ending any maternity or adoption leave.
- Provide their employer with ‘binding notice‘ of the date when they plan to end their leave (the date cannot be changed).
Note: SPL can start while your partner is still on maternity or adoption leave providing they have given binding notice to end it. You can give notice and planned SPL dates at the same time.
What happens in cases where the mother or the adopter is not getting maternity or adoption leave? In this case the mother or the adopter must end any maternity pay, adoption pay or Maternity Allowance. Once that happens, they (or their partner) can start Shared Parental Leave.
Shared Parental Pay Start Date
For ShPP to begin the mother (or the one getting adoption pay) must give binding notice to their employer about the date planned to end maternity or adoption pay.
You should give the same notice to Jobcentre Plus if you get Maternity Allowance. You will be unable to restart maternity pay, Maternity Allowance or adoption pay after it has ended.
Note: ShPP can start while your partner is still on maternity pay, adoption pay or Maternity Allowance providing they have given binding notice to end it. You can give notice and planned ShPP dates at the same time.
What is Compulsory Leave?
Compulsory leave is the two week period immediately following childbirth. Mothers cannot return to work until after these 14 days of maternity leave. Compulsory leave for mothers working in a factory is 4 weeks.
The person claiming adoption pay must take at least 14 days of adoption leave if you are adopting.
Can You Cancel the Decision to End Maternity or Adoption Leave?
In some cases the mother or adopter can change their leave date. As a rule you can change the decision to end maternity or adoption leave early providing:
- The end date you first planned has not already passed.
- You have not already gone back to work.
But, one of these circumstances must also apply:
- During the 8-week notice period you determine that neither of you is eligible for SPL or ShPP.
- The mother or the partner of the adopter died.
- The mother informs their employer within 6 weeks after the birth (having already given notice before the birth).
Statutory Shared Parental Pay Rate 2022
Shared Parental Pay rate is £156.66 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings. The actual amount will be whichever is lower. ShPP rate is the same as Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). The exception is that the 90% of SMP is whatever you earn during the first 6 weeks (with no maximum).
Booking Separate Blocks of Leave
The Shared Parental Leave policy allows you to book up to 3 split blocks. That means you do not need to take your maternity leave all in one go. That also applies even if you are not sharing it with your partner.
You can also use 3 blocks of leave if your partner qualifies for SPL. That means you have the flexibility of taking time off at different times or together and at the same time.
You must inform your employer of your plans for time off when you apply for Shared Parental Leave and Pay. You must provide them with a minimum of 8 weeks’ notice for each block of leave. But you have options to change these plans at a later date in most cases.
Splitting Blocks of Leave: You can split your blocks into short periods more than one week if your employer agrees to it.
Shared Parental Leave Keep in Touch Days (split)
UK employment laws allow you and your partner to work up to 20 days during Shared Parental Leave. They get referred to as ‘Shared Parental Leave in Touch‘ days or SPLIT for short.
They are in addition to 10 ‘keeping in touch days‘ (KIT). Keep in touch days are for those on maternity or adoption leave. But, both KIT and SPLIT days are entirely optional. You and your employer must both agree before you can use them.
Note: A new online tool for expectant parents will help them share time off in the early stages of their newborn’s life. The facility allows for the checking of Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme eligibility and pay entitlement – and then notify an employer.