Shared parental leave

Shared parental leave is a new right to leave for childcare which will be available to parents of children expected to be born or placed for adoption after 5 April 2015. The existing right to parental leave still continues as a separate right.

[The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014]


The right operates by 'swapping' some of the mother's maternity leave or pay entitlement to the father or partner and so entitling them to share the leave. The shared leave can be taken at any time by the father or partner and at the same time as the mother if the parents want to arrange it that way.

 

There are a number of conditions and procedures that apply before the leave can be taken which are set out below. If these procedures are not followed the leave requests will not comply with the law and employer may refuse to allow leave.

 

The shared leave can be taken in one continuous block or in a number of shorter blocks of at least one week if preferred by the parents although this will need to be notified to the employer at least 8 weeks before a period of leave starts. All shared parental leave must be taken in the first year of life of the child. The leave can be mixed with other types of leave the mother, father or partner are entitled to.

[regulations 7, 8 and 9, The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014]

 

The entitlement to maternity pay can also be shared with the father or partner and there are separate procedures which need to be complied with to arrange statutory shared parental pay.

Conditions of entitlement to shared parental leave

To qualify for shared parental leave both the mother and the partner sharing the leave have to satisfy a number of conditions:

Mother:

1 - has been an employee with her employer for 26 continuous weeks ending with the relevant week

2 - is still continuously employed until the week before any shared leave is taken

3 - has the main responsibility for care of her child from the date of birth (or shares it with her partner)

4 - is entitled to statutory maternity leave for her child

5 - has curtailed her maternity leave or returned to work before the end of that leave

6 - has given 8 weeks notice to her employer with required details

7 - has supplied evidence her employer is entitled to

8 - has given 8 weeks notice of the dates of each period of shared leave

Partner:

1 - has been an employee with their employer for 26 continuous weeks ending with the relevant week

2 - is still continuously employed until the week before any shared leave is taken

3 - has the main responsibility for care of her child from the date of birth (or shares it with the mother)

4 - has given 8 weeks notice to their employer with required details

5 - has supplied evidence their employer is entitled to

6 - has given 8 weeks notice of the dates of each period of shared leave


How much shared parental leave can be taken

If the mother is entitled to statutory maternity leave (SML)  then the total leave that can be shared is:

> 52 weeks minus the period from the first day of maternity leave taken by the mother and ending with the curtailment date given by the mother, or

> if no curtailment date has been given, 52 weeks minus the number of weeks of statutory maternity leave actually taken


If the mother is not entitled to SML but is entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP) then the total leave that the partner can take is:

> 52 weeks minus the number of weeks of SMP paid to the mother at the date of her return to work, or

> 52 weeks minus the number of weeks SMP paid to the mother at the pay curtailment date


If the mother is not entitled to SML but is entitled to maternity allowance (MA)  then the total leave that the partner can take is:

> 52 weeks minus the number of weeks of MA paid to the mother at the date of her return to work, or

> 52 weeks minus the number of weeks of MA paid to the mother at the allowance curtailment date

Giving notice of intention to take shared parental leave

Both the mother and the person sharing her leave must give notice to their employers that they are entitled to shared parental leave and that they intend to take it.

[Regulations 8 and 9, The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014]


The notice must be sent 8 weeks before the first period of shared leave that will be taken.


The notice can be varied by a further written notice given to the employer by the mother and the person sharing the parental leave. The further notice must include:

  • an indication of when the shared leave will be taken
  • a description of the periods of shared leave that have been notified to the employers
  • a description of the periods of statutory shared parental pay that have been notified to the employer
  • a declaration signed by both that they agree the variation

There is no limit on the number of variations the parties can make.

[regulation 11, The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014]


Employers request for evidence

Where a notice is served by someone wishing to take shared parental leave the employer may request within 14 days of the notice:

  • a copy of the birth certificate
  • the name and address of the employer of the person the leave is being shared with

Where this request is made before the birth of the child then the birth certificate must be supplied within 14 days of the birth. Alternatively, a declaration can be sent stating the date and place of birth.

[regulation 10 The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014]

Calculator

There is a useful shared parental leave calculator which calculates leave entitlements, key dates and pay at:


Shared parental leave calculator


ACAS Shared Parental Leave good practice guide
Shared-Parental-Leave-a-good-practice-gu
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