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Mothers can now choose to end their maternity leave early and opt for shared parental leave with their partner.

Shared Parental Leave

What is shared parental leave?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced by the government in December 2014. Mothers of children due or adopted on or after 5 April 2015 can choose to end their maternity leave early and share parental leave with their partner. It has been designed to give parents more flexibility in sharing the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption.

You can shre upto 50 weeks of leave and share upto 37 weeks of pay between you.

Criteria for Eligibility?

To qualify for Shared Parental Leave, an employee must 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 the date they’re matched with their adopted child) and remain with the same employer while taking SPL.

To be eligible for Shared Parental Leave an 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 you and the child)
Continuity of employment test

The partner must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due (or at the week in which an adopter was notified of having been matched with a child or adoption) and is still employed in the first week that Shared Parental Leave is to be taken.

Employment and earnings test

The partner must have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date and have earned above the maternity allowance threshold of £30 week in 13 of the 66 weeks. £390 total in 13 of the 66 weeks, these just need to be the highest weeks, not necessarily consecutive weeks.

If both partners wish to apply for SPL or ShPP, they must apply individually to their own employers.

Starting Shared Parental Leave

For Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to start, the mother or adopter must do one of the following:

  • end their Maternity/Adoption Leave by returning to work
  • give “binding notice” (a decision that can’t normally be changed) of the date when they’ll end their ML/AL.
  • end MP/MA.

A mother must give their employer at least 8 weeks’ notice to end her MP. SPL can start for the partner whilst the mother or adopter is still on ML or AL if she has given binding notice to end her leave.

How many weeks of leave is involved?

An eligible employee may ask for a single, continuous block of leave, which the employer is required to agree with. However employees can apply for up to 3 separate blocks of discontinuous leave which can be refused.

Our advice is for employees to discuss their intentions for SPL as soon as possible with their employer, this way there will be enough time to discuss the different options and come to a conclusion that fits both parties. During this leave, entitled couples will be paid Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP).

If an employee is eligible and they or their partner ends maternity or adoption leave and pay early, they can take:

  • the remaining leave as SPL (52 weeks minus any weeks of maternity or adoption leave)
  • the remaining pay as ShPP (39 weeks minus any weeks of maternity pay, maternity allowance or adoption pay)

A mother must take a minimum of 2 weeks maternity leave following the birth (4 weeks if she works in a factory). Both SPL and ShPP must be taken before the child’s first birthday or within one year of adoption.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)

A person can receive ShPP if they are an employee and one of the following applies:

  • they’re eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)
  • their partner is eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and they’re eligible for SMP, Maternity Allowance (MA) or SAP

ShPP is paid at the rate of £151.20 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. This is the same as Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) except that during the first 6 weeks SMP is paid at 90% of total earnings (with no maximum).

How much notice do I have to give?

Employees must give written notice of at least 8 weeks before beginning a block of leave. They can take up to 3 separate blocks of SPL, even if they aren’t sharing the leave with a partner. If a partner is also eligible for SPL, they can take up to 3 blocks of leave each at the same or different times. Once set, mothers and partners can change their plans but must always give 8 weeks’ notice before they want to begin a block of leave.

You can give notice by using:

  • Shared parental leave form (for maternity)
  • Shared Parental Leave forms (for adoption)
  • Shared Parental Leave Forms (for parental order surrogacy)

An employer can ask for the following information within 14 days of an application for SPL or ShPP:

  • a copy of the birth certificate
  • a declaration of the place and date of birth (if the birth hasn’t been registered yet)
  • the name and address of the partner’s employer or a declaration that the partner has no employer

If an employee is adopting, an employer can ask for the:

  • name and address of the adoption agency
  • date the employee was matched with the child
  • date the child will be start to live with the employee
  • name and address of the partner’s employer or a declaration that the partner has no employer

This information must be given within 14 days of being asked for it.

Contact Us

SPL AND ShPP are managed as part of Stipendia’s expert payroll service. If you need help or are looking for advice, please contact us by calling 0845 308 2288 or emailing


Key Contact: Lynne Auton
Tel: (0845) 308 2288
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