What is Shared Parental Leave?
If a baby is due on or after 5th April 2015, mothers will be able to share maternity leave and pay with their partners. Working partners will have a right to share 50 weeks and take at least 3 blocks of leave before the baby’s first birthday. They will be able to take the shared parental leave separately or together.
Who’s eligible to take Shared Parental Leave?
The mother and partner must comply with the shared parental leave procedures and have responsibility for caring for the child.
The partner can be: the child’s father, the mother’s husband or civil partner at the time of the birth, or a partner who lives with her and the child in an ‘enduring family relationship’.
An employee must have been continuously employed for 26 weeks up to an including the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and still be employed in the week before any shared parental leave is due to start. They must have earned not less than the lower earnings limit.
The other partner must have been employed or self-employed for a total of 26 weeks, not necessarily continuously, in the period of 66 weeks leading up to the week of expected childbirth and must have earned an average of £30 a week (as of 2015) in 13 of those 26 weeks, not necessarily continuously.
How does Shared Parental Leave work?
Step 1: The mother needs to either give at least 8 weeks’ notice that she wishes to shorten her maternity leave or return to work. If the notice is given before the baby is born, the mother is allowed to change her mind up to six weeks after the birth.
Step 2: The mother and partner must the give their employer a ‘notice of entitlement’ that they intend to take shared parental leave and give the following information:
- Names, addresses and national insurance numbers of both mother and partner who wish to use the shared parental leave
- The start date and end date of maternity leave, the balance of leave and pay that remains and the date the baby was born (or is due)
- How much shared parental leave each person proposes to take
- A non-binding indication of when the employee intends to take their portion of leave
- A signed declaration by the mother and partner that they meet the qualifying conditions, agree to the division of leave and pay, agree to information being processed by the employer, confirm the accuracy of the information and agree to inform their employer immediately if they cease to be eligible
Step 3: The mother and partner must give at least 8 weeks’ notice to their employer before they actually take a block of shared parental leave, including proposed leave dates and division of pay. The leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week and cannot start until the baby is born.
Each partner has the right to take three blocks of shared parental leave and can withdraw or vary a notice to take the period of leave up to three times.
- Untaken maternity pay or maternity allowance turns into statutory shared parental pay up to a maximum of 37 weeks.
- Contractual terms remain in place for employees on shared parental leave eg accrual of holiday
- The mother can only share the parental leave with one other person.
- In addition to the 10 keeping in touch days (KIT days) that a mother on maternity leave has, she and her partner are also entitled to 20 shared parental leave in touch days (SPLIT days).
- Shared parental leave is also applicable to those adopting a child.
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