Are We Eligible for Shared Parental Leave and Shared Parental Pay?

Are you interested in having more flexibility when it comes to taking care of your child following birth, adoption or fostering? Shared parental leave may be for you!

What is Shared Parental Leave (SPL)?

SPL gives mothers the opportunity to share some of their leave with their partners, whether the leave be following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child. You may be eligible to share up to 50 weeks of parental leave with your partner which you may take in blocks, take all at once, or stagger.

What is Shared Parental Pay (SHPP)?

You can share up to 37 weeks of pay with your partner. ShPP is £184.03 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for SPL and ShPP is different for birth parents and adoptive/surrogate parents.

Birth Parents

Both parents must:

  • Share responsibility for the child: you are not eligible if you started sharing responsibility following the birth of the child
  • Meet the work and earnings criteria

Employment and Work Criteria

Leave: If both parents wish to take leave, you must have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby’s due date. You must stay with that same employer until you start SPL. You must be considered an ‘employer’ and it is important to check your employment status in this regard.

Pay: Both parents must earn, on average, £123 a week to be eligible for ShPP.

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There are some eligibility requirements for both the mother and the mother’s partner, should the mother’s partner wish to take SPL and ShPP:

The Mother Must:

  • Have been working for at least 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks before the baby is due to be born.
  • Have earnt £390 in total over any 13 of the 66 weeks.

The Mother’s Partner Must:

  • Have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks before the end of the 15th week of the baby being due.
  • Stay with that same employer until their leave.
  • Earn on average £123 a week.

It is important to check your employment status as you must be considered an ‘employer’ to be eligible.

If the mother wants to take SPL and ShPP, the eligibility requirements are the same, just the other way around.

The Mother’s Partner Must:

  • Have been working for at least 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks before the baby is due to be born.
  • Have earnt £390 in total over any 13 of the 66 weeks.

The Mother Must:

  • Have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks before the end of the 15th week of the baby being due.
  • Stay with that same employer until their leave.
  • For ShPP, they must earn on average £123 a week.
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Are You Adopting or Using a Surrogate?

Adoptive parents and parents using a surrogate must share responsibility for the child from:

  • The child’s due date or birth date if you are using a surrogate.
  • The date the child is placed with you, if you are adopting or fostering a child you are planning to adopt.
  • Both parents must also meet the earnings criteria. 

Criteria for the Parent Wishing To Take SPL and SHPP

The Parent Must:

  • Be employed by the same employer until they start their SPL.
  • Have been employed continuously for at least 26 weeks either by the end of the week you and your partner are matched with the child you are adopting, or the end of the 15th week before the baby is due if you are using a surrogate.
  • For ShPP, they must earn on average £123 a week 

The Other Parent Must:

  • Have been working for at least 26 weeks out of the 66 weeks before the week the child was placed with you (doesn’t need to be a consecutive 26 weeks)
  • Have earned at least £390 in total in 13 of the 66 weeks (doesn’t need to be 13 consecutive weeks)

Can Partners Take Spl or Shpp if They Leave Their Job?

This very much depends on when the employment contract ends. If the employment contract ends whilst the parent is on leave, they may still be entitled to ShPP. If your contract ends before your leave starts, you are no longer eligible for ShPP and SPL because one of the eligibility requirements is that you work for the same employer until SPL starts. So, you cannot leave your job and then start another job just before you are due to take leave.

Useful links:

Shared parental planning tool: Plan your Shared Parental Leave and Pay - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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