COVID-19 Update - Click for more

Shared parental leave - how it works

Sharing the babyShared Parental Leave (SPL) is a new law which enables parents to share parental leave between them. Since 5 April 2015, when you are due to have a baby, including adopting a child, you may now be entitled to share your parental leave (SPL). Fathers now have almost the same rights as mothers to parental leave following the birth of a child.

What is shared parental leave?

Under new laws which have just come into force, couples living together will be able to divide almost all of the traditional maternity leave between them. The right also applies to those adopting a child. 

How much time can parents take off?

Parents can effectively have a year – apart from a compulsory two week recovery period after child birth which the mother must take – and can divide the time between them in any combination.

Does at least one of parent have to be at work?

No. Parents can choose to take the time off together or overlap part of their entitlement.  It also does not have to be taken in a single block, therefore parents could intersperse periods of work and leave, for example, to enable them to return to the office for an important project or deadline and then go back on leave. 

When does it take effect?

Although the right came into force on 1 December 2014, it applies only to those with babies due on 5 April 2015 or later. However, if the baby arrives early, the shared leave entitlement will apply. 

What will parents be paid?

The existing right to statutory maternity pay (SMP) will be transferred to shared parental leave (SPL).  Mothers currently receive 90% of their normal salary for the first six weeks and then a statutory rate of currently £138 per week for the next thirty weeks. Fathers will be paid a share of the money depending on how much time they choose to take off. 

Can employers refuse?

No! Unlike the flexible working arrangements introduced in recent years, where workers only have a right to have a request properly considered, shared parental leave gives permanent employees the right to take the leave if they wish, in the same way as maternity leave. 

Who will check that both parents do not simply take a full year off?

The taxman. Each partner must make a legally binding declaration setting out what share they will take which can then be checked by HMRC to prevent fraud. 


If you require any further advice on this subject or any other employment related matter, please contact Paul Grindley on 0113 320500 or email

Latest Blog

How much redundancy pay should you be getting?

How much redundancy pay should you be getting
How does an employee know how much redundancy pay they're entitled to? An employer, when making an employee redundant, must ensure they leave with everything they are entitled to. How to work...
Reintroduction of employment tribunal fees?

In a surprising announcement, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has confirmed that it may reintroduce fees for employment tribunal claims.  This would be a surprising U-turn by the government which was criticised for its tribunal fee structure which was introduced in 2013.  The fee structure was decl

Inheritance tax changes

The recent Budget saw the Chancellor announce reforms to Inheritance Tax rules which were widely expected following the Conservative Party’s General Election victory.  Currently, a married couple are able to access allowances of £325,000 each, which can be doubled up and applied as a single allow

Grandmother with Grandchild

The Prime Minister David Cameron has recently suggested that he would be “happy” to look at plans for so called “granny leave” giving working grandparents the right to take up to 18 weeks of shared paren