Shared parental leave and pay

Topic Index
Shared parental leave and existing family leave rights
Qualifying for shared parental leave
The process of taking shared parental leave
Shared parental pay
Terms and conditions during shared parental leave
SPLIT - shared parental leave in touch days
Right to return to work from shared parental leave
Redundancy while on shared parental leave
Resources on shared parental leave


  • Shared parental leave (SPL) is designed to give parents more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year of its life.
  • Under the new system, eligible employees have the right to share up to a maximum of 50 weeks’ leave and 37 weeks’ shared parental pay (ShPP) with their partner.
  • The mother is still required to take the two-week period of compulsory maternity leave. 
  • Where the mother and her partner both meet certain qualifying conditions, the mother will be able to end her maternity leave, or commit to doing so at a future date, and share the untaken balance of the maternity leave and pay with her partner.
  • SPL can be taken consecutively or concurrently between parents.
  • Adopters will be able to qualify for SPL provided they satisfy the qualifying conditions. Parents by way of a surrogacy arrangement who meet the criteria to apply for a Parental Order, and are eligible for adoption leave, may also qualify for SPL.
  • The regulations governing the new system came into force on 1 December 2014 and introduced the protections from detriment and dismissal for exercising, or seeking to exercise, SPL rights.
  • The right to take the leave itself only applies in respect of babies due on or after 5 April 2015. If the due date is on or after this date but the baby is born early, then the parents will still qualify for SPL. But if the baby is due on an earlier date but is born late (i.e. after 5 April 2015) then the parents will not qualify.
  • It is important to remember that not all working parents will be entitled to SPL and pay. There are exacting qualification requirements; the mother has to cut short her maternity leave and/or pay, and both parents must comply with various notice requirements.
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