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Shared parental leave and pay

Most employers although aware of shared parental leave and statutory shared parental pay have yet to get to grips with the detail.  Many consider that they won’t have to do so until they are notified about a pregnancy, but many have overlooked the fact that they now have maternity and paternity processes in their handbooks which are out of date and misleading.

Employees can start shared parental leave if they are eligible and they or their partner end their maternity or adoption leave or pay early.  The remaining leave will be available as shared parental leave, whereas the remaining pay becomes shared parental pay.

Employees can take shared parental leave in up to three separate blocks.  They can also share this leave with their partner if they are both eligible.  Each parent can choose how much of the shared parental leave each of them will take.  Both the leave and the pay must be taken between the baby’s birth and first birthday (or within one year of adoption).  To qualify for shared parental leave your employee must share responsibility for the child with either:

  • Their husband, wife, civil partner or joint adopter.
  • The child’s other parent.
  • Their partner (if they live with them).

Your employee or their partner must be eligible for maternity pay or leave, adoption pay or leave or maternity allowance.  They must also:

  • Have worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date (or the date they are matched with their adopted child).
  • Still be employed by you whilst they take shared parental leave. 
  • Give you the correct notice including a declaration that their partner meets the employment and income requirements which allow your employee to get shared parental leave.

You should remember that a mother must take a minimum of 2 weeks maternity leave following the birth (4 if she works in a factory).

For shared parental leave to start the mother or adopter must do one of the following:

  • End their maternity or adoption leave by returning to work.
  • Give you “binding notice” (a decision that cannot normally be changed) of the date when they will end their maternity or adoption leave.
  • End maternity pay or maternity allowance.

The mother must give you notice (at least 8 weeks) to end her maternity pay.  The employee must give you written notice of their entitlement to shared parental leave including:

  • Their partner’s name.
  • Maternity leave start and end dates.
  • The total amount of shared parental leave and shared parental pay available and how much they and their partner intend to take.
  • That they are sharing childcare responsibilities with their partner.