What is shared parental leave?
Shared Parental Leave is a new way for parents to share statutory leave and pay following the birth of a child, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced by the Government for all babies born after 5th April 2015.
At first glance the SPL scheme does look quite complicated, it would be good practice to speak to employees about how much leave they are thinking of taking and if they are interested in sharing this leave with under the scheme as early as possible.
If following the birth of her child a woman decides not to take her full maternity leave entitlement she and the father can opt in to shared parental leave. However both parents must meet a set of eligibility criteria which are:
- They must have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
- They must remain continuously employed until the week before any period of shared parental leave starts.
- They already have or expect to have main responsibility for caring for the child.
- The mother is entitled to statutory maternity leave.
- The mother has curtailed her entitlement to maternity leave or has returned to work.
- They have provided their employers with notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave.
- They have provided any evidence requested by their employer within 14 days of the request. This may include a copy of the birth certificate, or a declaration from the parents confirming the date and place of the child’s birth if the birth certificate is not yet available, and the name and address of the other parent’s employer.
- They have given the employer a period of leave notice.
There is no need for employers to contact one another to make checks on the eligibility criteria or declarations.
Amount of shared parental leave available
The maximum amount of leave that can be shared between the parents is 50 weeks. The leave can be taken during the 12 months following the birth of the child, but cannot begin earlier than two weeks following the child’s birth.
Shared parental leave only becomes available once the mother has given notice to end her entitlement to maternity leave early. The mother must take a minimum of two weeks off work following the birth of her child. The remaining 50 weeks can then be shared under the SPL scheme.
The leave can be taken separately or at the same time, subject to the following requirements:
- the minimum period of leave must be one week,
- the leave must be taken in multiples of complete weeks, and
- the leave may be taken as one continuous period or discontinuous periods.
Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave
If one or both parents wish to take shared parental leave they must submit a written ’notice of entitlement’ to their own employer at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave. The notice should include certain information, including:
- the mother’s and father’s names and national insurance numbers,
- the start and end date of any period of statutory maternity leave taken/to be taken by the mother,
- the amount of any statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance received or to be received by the mother,
- the expected week of childbirth and/or actual date of birth of the child,
- the total amount of shared parental leave available,
- confirmation that the mother/father is sharing child care responsibilities with their partner,
- a non-binding indication of how much shared parental leave both parties intend to take and the proposed start and end dates of such leave, and
- a declaration from each parent to confirm that:
- the mother satisfies the eligibility criteria,
- the father satisfies the eligibility criteria,
- that the information given is accurate, and
- that if either parent ceases to meet the conditions of entitlement to shared parental leave then they will immediately notify the employer.
If you have any further questions about shared parental leave, please let us know.