What Is Shared Parental Leave?

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Shared parental leave allows mothers, fathers, partners and people going through adoption to decide how they best want to share the time off with their child once he or she is born or adopted.

Two weeks after a baby is born / adopted - parents can choose how to share the next 50 weeks off work.

Parental leave was introduced to challenge the assumption that it would always be the mother who’ll stay at home with the new child for a long period.


In order to qualify for shared parental leave. The mother or her partner must be:

  • eligible for maternity or adoption entitlement.
  • have been working for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the child is due / adoption date.
  • have worked for at least 26 weeks of the previous 66 weeks leading up to the due / adoption date.
  • have earned at least £390 in total in 13 of those 66 weeks.

A few rules

Parents taking shared parental leave must abide by some conditions:

  • shared parental leave must be taken within one year of the date of birth or adoption.
  • while it does not need to be taken in one block. If it is separated into multiple blocks it must be taken in full week blocks, not odd days.
  • up to 3 blocks of parental leave can be requested (it is worth noting that employers do not have to allow the time to be broken up if it is going to affect the needs of the business but cannot refuse a request for continuous leave to be taken in one block).

A note on compulsory leave

Shared parental leave does not affect the fact that a mother cannot return to work before the end of compulsory 2 weeks of maternity leave (4 weeks if it is factory work).

Notice Periods

Parents must inform their employer 7 weeks before the leave is due to start. This must be done in writing or through a shared parental leave form.



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