The ins and outs of shared parental leave

Lucy Bickerstaff

November 22 2019

Shared parental leave makes it possible for mothers, fathers and adopters to share time off after a child has been born or adopted.

It’s an important entitlement that all employers need to understand. That’s because many of your employees could end up requesting it in the near future.

To make sure you know where you stand, we’ve broken down the most important aspects of shared parental leave for you in this useful blog.

Who can request it?

Eligibility rules apply for shared parental leave, including:

  • One parent must be an employee and the other must pass the employment and earnings test.
  • One parent must have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks, and employed at the end of the 15th week before the expected week of confinement (EWC) or the week in which they have been notified they have been matched for adoption.
  • The other person must have worked either employed or self-employed 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 in 13 of the 66 weeks.

So, should an employee come to you requesting shared parental leave, make sure they meet the above requirements.

What is the process and procedure?

As we always say, having the correct policies and processes in place, for all aspects of employment, should be a paramount concern for employers. Preparation in both areas can save you a lot more than a workplace headache too.

As an employer, you need to take note of the points below. If you do, dealing with a shared parental leave request will make your life a lot easier.

  • Up to 52 weeks of leave can be taken in total; only 50 of these weeks can be shared as the mother must take the first 2 weeks of leave.
  • Both individuals need to give a curtailment notice and non-binding indication of their leave pattern to their employer.
  • More than one period of leave can be stated in the notice.
  • The notice must detail the number of days being taken after the birth/adoption.
  • Both employers can request evidence of the other employee’s name and employer details within two weeks.
  • A request for a continuous block of leave cannot be refused. If the leave is discontinuous, this must be agreed with the employer.

Ignoring a request is not good practice, so consider each one you receive. Also, remember that both employees can be off at the same time. This point catches employers out time and time again.

Shared parental leave pay

Shared parental leave pay is often seen as a grey area by employers. However, shared parental leave pay is not as daunting as it sounds, as we explain here:

  • Out of the 39 weeks of shared parental pay, a maximum of 37 weeks’ pay can be shared. The first 2 weeks must be taken by the mother.
  • The qualifying criteria for shared parental pay is the same as the current criteria for Statutory Maternity Pay.
  • Both parents can use up to 20 Shared Parental Leave in Touch days (SPLIT). The payment for these days can be discussed with the employees, but it is advised that this is above the national minimum/living wage.

If you would like further complementary advice on shared parental leave from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 0800 917 0771 or request a callback here.

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