Mothers can now choose to end their maternity leave early and opt for shared parental leave with their partner.
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.
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:
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.
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.
If both partners wish to apply for SPL or ShPP, they must apply individually to their own employers.
For Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to start, the mother or adopter must do one of the following:
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.
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:
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.
A person can receive ShPP if they are an employee and one of the following applies:
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).
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:
An employer can ask for the following information within 14 days of an application for SPL or ShPP:
If an employee is adopting, an employer can ask for the:
This information must be given within 14 days of being asked for it.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.