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MAKE YOUR FREE Shared parental leave policy

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How to make a Shared parental leave policy

Shared parental leave (SPL) is a new legal entitlement for eligible parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015. It enables an eligible mother to exchange her maternity allowance for SPL. SPL allows eligible parents to choose how to share time off work after their child is born and allows for a more flexible arrangement.

Notify staff and managers about the shared parental leave system. Shared parental leave entitles expectant parents, or parents adopting a child to share the caring responsibilities depending on their preferences and circumstances. This document gives parents or guardians a sense of flexibility at work without being penalised. 

This shared parental leave policy template covers the parents' eligibility, their notification requirements, as well as shared parental pay. Ensure that your staff know when shared parental leave can be taken as well as when they have to return to work after leave. Use this shared parental leave policy to inform staff and managers of their responsibilities during this process.

This document is GDPR compliant.

Use this shared parental leave policy

  • to inform staff and managers about the statutory shared parental leave regime

Note that this is not the parental leave policy.

This shared parental leave policy covers

  • what shared parental leave is
  • who is eligible for shared parental leave
  • when shared parental leave can be taken
  • notification and booking requirements
  • statutory shared parental pay and enhanced payments, if applicable
  • rights during shared parental leave
  • returning to work after leave

A SPL policy ensures that your staff are up-to-date on when shared parental leave can be taken as well the notification requirements. It ensures consistency when making and responding to notifications from employees regarding SPL.

To qualify for SPL, you must share responsibility for the child with either your husband, wife, civil partner or joint adopter, the child's other parent or your partner if they live with you and the child. The mother must also be entitled to maternity/adoption leave; or to statutory maternity/adoption pay and have given notice to reduce her allowance in exchange for SPL.

The parent who intends to take SPL must also be an employee, share the primary responsibility for the child and have properly notified their employer of their entitlement.

There are two other stringent tests:

  • Continuity of employment

The individual must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the child's expected due date and is staying with the same employer whilst you take SPL.

  • Employment and earnings test

In the 66 weeks leading up to the baby's expected due date, the individual must have worked for at least 26 weeks and earned an average of £30 a week in any 13 weeks.

SPL can be taken at any time from the end of the two-week compulsory maternity leave period (which increases to four weeks for factory workers) up until 52 weeks from the date of birth (ie up until the child's first birthday).

This would depend on how much leave the mother has reduced from her 52 week maternity leave (The first two weeks must be taken as maternity leave). A mother can create up to 50 weeks' worth of SPL.

A notice to book SPL must be submitted at least eight weeks before any period of leave would begin. A notice must be in writing, dated and clearly set out what leave the employee intends to take.

SPL must be taken in weekly blocks and can be taken in a single block or in separate blocks if agreed by the employer. An employee can make at least three requests to book or vary SPL but must notify their employer of their right and book the leave with at least eight weeks' notice.

SPLIT days enable each parent to work up to 20 days whilst taking SPL. They are optional and must be agreed upon by the employee and employer.

Once a mother has given notice to end maternity leave and either parent has informed their employer of their entitlement to take SPL then the notice to end maternity leave is binding and cannot be withdrawn. There are only specific times SPL can be withdrawn which are:

  • within 8 weeks of the mother submitting notice to end their maternity leave it transpires that neither parent qualifies for SPL
  • when notice was given before birth, it may be withdrawn without a reason up to six weeks following the birth
  • the mother's partner dies

The statutory ShPP is available if an employee meets all the eligibility criteria. A mother (including an adoptive or surrogate mother with parental responsibility for the child) must be entitled to 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory adoption pay (SAP) or maternity allowance (MA) and must reduce the number of weeks she is paid SMP, SAP or MA. This means the maximum ShPP a father or partner of the mother can take is 37 weeks while taking SPL. ShPP is the lower of 90% of an employee's pay and the minimum rate set by the Government each tax year (£151.97 a week as of April 2021). An employee will only qualify for ShPP if he or she qualifies for SPL.

Although there is no need to offer an enhanced ShPP, many employers consider company ShPP a valuable part of their benefits package. It can help attract and retain good employees and boosts staff morale and loyalty.

Employers do not have to offer enhanced ShPP if they offer contractual maternity pay, however, if the employer does offer enhanced ShPP it must be offered to male and female employees who take SPL.

The employee is entitled to return to the exact same job on the same terms and conditions that they were doing immediately before they took SPL. You must not subject your employee to discriminatory or unfair treatment.

Ask a lawyer for further advice when:

  • adoption or surrogacy arrangements are needed
  • a mother withdraws her notice to curtail maternity leave
  • allegations of discrimination are made in connection with shared parental leave

This shared parental leave policy is governed by the law of England and Wales or the law of Scotland.

Other names for Shared parental leave policy

Shared parental leave procedure.

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