In The Know: Our Guide To Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) means that eligible parents and adopters can decide themselves how to share time off work once a baby comes along. With SPL you’re able to work for part of the time, take time off, then resume work later on.  

What is it and how does it work?

Shared Parental Leave is designed to offer parents more flexibility in sharing the care of their child in the first 12 month after birth or adoptive placement. Parents that qualify for can be away from work together for up to 6 months, or they can stagger the leave and pay so that either mum or dad is always at home during the baby’s first year. The leave can also be taken in blocks. Parents are eligible to take a maximum of three separate blocks rather than taking all of the leave in one chunk. If your partner is also eligible for SPL then these blocks can be taken at the same time, or they can be taken subsequently after the other. Check out our simple infographic below. 



Is shared parental leave paid?

Yes. It should be paid according to your companies shared parental leave policy.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay is paid at £151.20 or 90% of a worker’s average weekly earnings (whichever is less).

When can shared parental leave be taken?
You must tell your employer about your decision to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before you would like the leave to start. You and your partner can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.
When can shared parental leave start?
The earliest that shared parental leave can begin is 2 weeks after the baby’s birth or adoption. When it comes to paternity and parental leave, it can easily feel pretty daunting. We would recommend keeping the lines of communication open between yourself and your HR department if you have one, and don’t forget to check out Gov.uk for help too.
Your employer must explain to you why you do not qualify for SMP within 7 days of their decision via a SMP1 form. You may qualify for Maternity Allowance instead.

Benefits of Shared Parental Leave 

Fathers who take shared parental leave often benefit from crucial bonding time with their child. Not to mention they become increasingly confident around looking after a small child or children. It also goes without saying it often helps the mother recover quicker as there is less of a strain on her as primary career. Employers benefit also as Employees are more likely to return to the workplace more productive and engaged in their daily duties to the the time that they their employer has afforded them with their young family. 

Example of Shared Parental Leave

Tola and Mark are both in professional services who have worked for their employers for over employers for over 3 years. They agree that initially Tola will take enhanced maternity leave of 12 weeks paid for by her company, starting a month before the due date, and Mark will take his normal paternity leave of 2 weeks when the baby is born.

After her 12 weeks maternity leave, Tola will return to work part time for 4 weeks to help with a huge product launch for a client. Mark will take 4 weeks of Shared Parental Leave (SPL). That still leaves them with 36 weeks SPL. They decide they would like to have some time off together, an additional 4 weeks – which equals to an additional 8 weeks of their total parental leave. That leaves 28 weeks of shared parental leave. So Tola takes an additional 20 weeks and then returns to work full time.

In summary they have taken 32 weeks of SPL, 2 weeks of paternity leave and 12 weeks of enhanced maternity leave. They have 8 weeks of SPL unused. 

Check out our guide on Paternity leave and Statutory Maternity Leave