You know about Maternity & Paternity pay, but what about ‘Shared Parental Leave’?

Shared Parental leave

What is Shared Parental leave? We’re assuming that if you have a family or are looking to start one, that you’re all fairly clued up on Statutory Maternity & Paternity Pay (SMP & SPP).

But, for many families, it’s not just as simple as one parent taking a big chunk of time off and the other working. Especially if you are running your own business, it just may not be viable to take the best part of a year off. So, in comes ‘Shared Parental Leave’, and we’re going to tell you all you need to know!

This leave could be applicable to you and your partner, if you are:

  • having a baby
  • using a surrogate to have a baby
  • adopting a child
  • fostering a child who you’re planning to adopt

As the name suggests, shared parental leave means you can share the leave between the 2 of you, and this is up to 50 weeks of ‘leave’, with 37 of those weeks paid. This leave can be taken simultaneously (so, both have 25 weeks off, for example), or shared in different block between you, with one returning to work whilst the other is off etc.


So, what’s the criteria?

Well, for either parent, and whether you’re birth parents or adoptive, the following criteria apply:

  • You share responsibility for the parenting of the child from day 1 (either birth or the day it’s placed in your care)
  • You have been continuously employed have been by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date (for birth and surrogacy) or by the end of the week you are matched with the adoptive child.
  • You must earn, on average, more than £123 per week
  • The leave & pay must all be taken within the first year that the child is born or placed in your care


There are quite a few hoops to jump through in applying for and receiving payment, so always speak with your employer (or your accountant) well in advance of the time you want to take off.


Blog Suggestion: What is Maternity Allowance?

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