Shared Parental Leave

Parents

Shared Parental Leave and Pay helps eligible parents to combine work with family life. Parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay and choose to take the leave and pay in a more flexible way (each parent can take up to 3 blocks of leave, more if their employer allows, interspersed with periods of work).

Eligible parents can be off work together for up to 6 months or alternatively stagger their leave and pay so that one of them is always at home with their baby in the first year.

How do parents find out if they are eligible?

Parents can check if they are eligible by using the eligibility checklists. Conditions include a requirement for one or both of them to have started working for their current employer from around the time that the mother became pregnant (or, in the case of adoptions, 6 months before the adopter was matched with a child). In addition to meeting all of the eligibility conditions for Shared Parental Leave, to qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay, the parent(s) must earn at least the lower earnings limit (£113 a week in 2017-18) over an 8 week period.

Each parent must consent to the other taking their leave and pay and the consenting parent must confirm that they meet a low threshold work and earnings test.

The maximum amount of leave and pay that can be taken or shared as Shared Parental Leave and Pay is 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay.

No, but a self-employed mother can ‘create’ leave and pay for her employed partner to take from Maternity Allowance which she does not intend to use.

No, if you are eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Pay, you will receive the same rate of pay irrespective of the hours you work. But if you earn less than the lower earnings limit (£113 a week for 2017/2018) you won’t qualify for pay.

Yes. Eligible parents can be off work together on Shared Parental Leave for nearly 6 months if they wish. Fathers/partners can also start their Shared Parental Leave whilst the mother is still on Maternity Leave.

Yes. Eligible fathers and partners can take 2 weeks of Paternity Leave and Pay, as well as up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave and up to 37 weeks of Shared Parental Pay.

Yes, providing that one of the prospective parents qualifies for Adoption Leave and/or Pay and is willing to give up some of their leave and/or pay to ‘create’ Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

 

Shared Parentel Leave

Testimonials

Each of these families have their own story. Hear about how shared parenting is working for some real-life couples.

Richard and Rob

Thanks to Shared Parental Leave, Richard and Rob were able to both play a part in a life changing and rewarding experience together.

 

Leila and Tom

Thanks to Shared Parental Leave, Leila was able to take the opportunity of a promotion, whilst Tom could develop a strong bond with baby Pearl.

Victoria and Martin

Victoria and Martin shared the leave in chunks so that Teddy would not have to go to nursery for his first year.

Shared Parental Leave

Employers

Eligible staff have a statutory right to take Shared Parental Leave and/or Pay if they give you the correct notice. You can view the eligibility criteria for more information.

Shared Parental Leave and Pay help eligible parents to combine work with family life. They can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay and/or take their leave and pay in a more flexible way (each parent can take up to 3 blocks of leave, more if their employer allows, interspersed with periods of work).

The leave and pay is ‘created’ when a mother or adopter ends or commits to ending their maternity or adoption entitlement early to opt into the Shared Parental Leave and Pay schemes. Your employee will tell you if they want to do this and provide you with certain information to enable you to process their ‘request’ for leave and/or pay.

What are the benefits to the employer?

Shared Parental Leave and Pay enables mothers and adopters who want to return to work early to do so as their partners are able to share childcare responsibly with them. In addition, in contrast to Maternity and Adoption Leave, employees can stop and start Shared Parental Leave and return to work between periods of leave, for example during a particularly busy period or to complete a particular project, if they wish.

Giving parents more choice and flexibility to combine work with childcare responsibilities means that more parents are able to work in jobs that match their qualifications and experience. As an employer, you’ll be able to better recruit and retain talent.

Your employee must give you written notice if they want to take Shared Parental Leave and/or Pay. They can give notice to you on this form or alternatively provide the required information in a format that you specify.

You are not obliged to conduct any checks but you can ask for the name and address of your employee’s partner’s employer and for a copy of the child’s birth certificate or proof of adoption if you wish.

You can ‘reclaim’ at least 92% of Statutory Shared Parental Pay from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the same way that you reclaim Statutory Maternity Pay. If you can’t afford to make and then ‘reclaim’ payments, you can apply to HMRC for an advance.

You need to keep records for HMRC including information provided by your employee to show that they were eligible for statutory pay. You are entitled to rely on the information your employee provides and are not required to check this.

Further guidance for employers about Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

Different ways you can take Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave

(a) Mum and Dad want time off work together

Mum and Dad are both eligible for Shared Parental Leave and Pay and decide to take three blocks of leave each. Dad takes his first block of leave whilst Mum is still on Maternity Leave so that they can have a month at home together with their new baby. They both plan to take further blocks of Shared Parental Leave later in the year but will stagger this so that one of them is always at home with the baby.

(b) Both parents work part time

Mum earns £100 a week and Mum’s Partner earns £190 a week. Mum’s Partner qualifies for Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Mum doesn’t qualify for Shared Parental Pay as she earns less than the lower earnings limit (£113 for 2017/18). She qualifies for Shared Parental Leave but decides not to take it and returns to work after taking 15 weeks of Maternity Leave and Maternity Allowance. Mum’s Partner takes the remaining weeks as Shared Parental Leave and Pay at the statutory rate of £140.98 a week (2017-18 rates).

(c) Dad takes advantage of the Shared Parental Pay that his workplace offers

Dad is eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Mum started working for her employer three months after becoming pregnant and is therefore not eligible. Dad’s employer offers enhanced occupational parental pay for employees taking Shared Parental Leave so they decide that he will take 4 months off work to benefit from this.

(d) Dad is self-employed but Mum qualifies for Adoption Leave and Pay

Dad does not qualify for Shared Parental Leave or Pay as he is self-employed. Mum qualifies and decides to end her Adoption Leave and Pay early in order to take Shared Parental Leave and Pay. This gives her the flexibility to take her leave and pay in up to three blocks, returning to work in between, to undertake some training and complete her professional qualifications.

 

You can give this factsheet to your employees to provide them with an overview of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

Next steps

Shared Parental Leave

Eligible parents should discuss their plans with each other and decide if one or both of them will take Shared Parental Leave and/or Pay.

Remember eligible parents can take up to 3 blocks of leave and/or pay each and can take time off work together or at different times. Hear from parents who took Shared Parental Leave, and how it worked for them on this site.

Talk to your manager about when you plan to be off work as soon as you can to enable them to plan for your absence. Eligible parents need to give their employer(s) at least 8 weeks’ notice of periods of leave and certain information. They can give notice to their employer using the model notices and declarations forms. Remember that if you are eligible for Shared Parental Leave and/or Pay you have a legal right to take it.

Find more information on Shared Parental Leave and Pay.