Shared Parental Leave

Parental and Shared Parental Leave – Do you know the difference?

Parental and Shared Parental Leave can be confusing. We receive regular calls to our hotline for clarification on Parental and Shared Parental Leave. Hopefully this article will explain the differences, but if you have questions feel free to reach out to us.

What is Parental Leave?

Parental Leave allows employees with children/adoptive children to care for their child’s welfare. Parental Leave is separate from Maternity/Paternity Leave or Adoption Leave.

Requirements for Parental Leave

  • Parent (mother or father)
  • Formal parenting responsibility
  • One year of service with current company
  • 21 days advance notice to employer (possibly in writing)
  • Immediately after birth or after maternity leave *
  • Minimum one week blocks of time **
  • 18 weeks total
  • Taken during first 18 years of child’s life
  • May be postponed by employer for up to 6 months ***

* – Parental Leave can be forfeited for Shared Parental Leave.
** – Can be taken in multiple weeks but is not to be used for individual days off.
*** – Postponement may not extend beyond the child’s 18th birthday.

What is Shared Parental Leave?

Shared Parental Leave enables eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share their time off work after a child is born or adopted. This can involve returning to work then resuming leave at a later time. Mothers and their named partner must plan beforehand how they will share their entitlement.

A maximum of 52 weeks of Shared Parental Leave is available and parents may take time off together or separately.

Requirements for Shared Parental Leave

  • Mother, father, partner, adopter
  • Maximum of two people (mother + 1 other person)
  • Mother/Primary Adopter Continuity of Employment Test
    • worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks
    • work for the same employer at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due (or adoption date).
    • must remain employed by the same employer when Shared Parental Leave commences.
  • Second Parent Employment & Earnings Test
    • must have worked at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks leading up to the due date (or adoption date).
    • must have earned greater than £30/week in 13 of the 66 weeks.
  • 8 weeks advance notice to employer (must be in writing).
  • Minimum one week blocks of time.>
  • A single continuous block of time is compulsory. Discontinuous leave is up to the employer.
  • 52 weeks total shared between both caregivers
  • Maternity/Paternity leave already used is deducted from the 52 week maximum
  • Taken during first 52 weeks of child’s life (or placement date)
  • Normally 3 notices for each employee are allowed (single or multiple week notices)

Requirements errata: for both parents to take Shared Parental Leave both must meet the eligibility requirements. However, if only one parent meets the eligibility requirement, that requirement can be used by either (but not both).

Additional rules and requirements apply to Shared Parental Leave.

Should you have any questions feel free to reach out to our help line. DLP advisors are available to answer any questions you may have at 0330 400 4495.

Key Differences between Parental Leave and Shared Parental Leave

Key Difference Area Parental Leave Shared Parental Leave
Time Limit First 18 years First 52 weeks
Duration 18 weeks 52 weeks
Employment Requirement (mother / primary adopter) One year continuous employment
  • Entitled to maternity or adoption leave
  • Pass continuity of employment test
  • Agree to curtail maternity or adoption leave
Employment Requirement (second parent) One year continuous employment (above) Employment and earnings test (above)

Additional Reading