Guide to Shared Parental Leave

| 21st August 2015

As an update to our previous blog Guide to Maternity Leave we’ve got some good news: parents can now share part of their 52 weeks of maternity leave.

Starting from April 2015 a new scheme was introduced to help parents more efficiently organise their time to take care of their new born in its first year. This replaces the previous system, Additional Paternity Leave, relaxing the restrictions and adding greater flexibility.

Happy family together, parents with their little baby at sunset

To qualify for shared parental leave

  1. The mother must:
  • Qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance
  • Give notice to the employer 8 weeks in advance before ending the maternity leave
  1. The partner must:
  • Share responsibility for the child with the mother (wife, civil partner or joint adopter)
  • Qualify for Statutory Paternity Leave and the mother must qualify for either Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance
  • Have been employed for at least one week before the conception date and still working for the same employer
  • Have been working for at least 26 weeks starting 66 weeks before the due date
  • Have been earning at least £390 in any of the 13 weeks starting 66 weeks before the due date

How does shared parental leave work:

The mother is still entitled to get the 52 weeks of Maternity Leave but she can choose to end that earlier and opt for shared parental leave. She has to take the first 2 weeks of maternity leave and pay after the baby is born; therefore SPL can be taken up to a maximum of 50 weeks and shared parental statutory pay up to a maximum of 37 weeks.

For example; a mother and her partner are both eligible for shared parental leave. The mother ends her maternity leave after 15 weeks, leaving 37 weeks. She can then take 25 weeks, and her partner can take the remaining 12.

If the parents opt for shared parental leave, they can take the leave at the same time or separately. They both have to give eight weeks’ notice before taking leave.


This scheme follows the same payment system as for statutory maternity pay:

  • The first 6 weeks – 90% of their average weekly earnings (AWE) [1] before tax
  • The remaining 33 weeks – £138.18 or 90% of their AWE (whichever is lower)
  • Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted in the normal way

The employer can reclaim 92% of employees’ Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Paternity Pay and Adoption Pay from HMRC. This increases to 103% if their business qualifies for Small Employers’ Relief.

If you have any questions or you need more information on shared parental leave we are happy to help.

[1] AWE: The average of the employee’s gross earnings over a period of at least eight weeks up to and including the last payday before the end of 25th week of pregnancy

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