1. What is Shared Parental Leave?
Shared parental leave will be created where an eligible mother or adopter brings their maternity or adoption leave to an end early. The untaken weeks of maternity or adoption leave can be taken as shared parental leave if the mother/adopter or their partner is eligible for this – up to a maximum of 50 weeks (as the mother is required by law to take the first 2 weeks off work after the birth of her child). Shared parental leave and statutory shared parental pay will be available for eligible employees whose baby is due on or after 5 April 2015 or who have a child placed with them for adoption on or after that date.
2. Who is eligible for shared maternity leave?
- Employees only; agency workers, self-employed parents, or parents who are not employed, are not entitled.
3. Are there any other eligibility requirements?
Yes. To qualify for shared parental leave an employee must satisfy a number of conditions;
- The mother of the child must be entitled to maternity leave or (if she is not entitled to maternity leave) to statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance;
- She must have ended her maternity leave (or her maternity pay or maternity allowance period) before she has taken her full amount.;
- The mother must be sharing the main responsibility for the care of the child with the child’s father or the mother’s partner;
- The mother must have been continuously employed by the same employer for 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remain employed by that employer at the start of the week in which shared parental leave is to be taken;
- The other parent – the father of the child, or the mother’s partner, must satisfy an “employment earnings test”. This test requires that in the 66 weeks leading up to the week in which the child is due/the date when the adopter is notified of a match, they have worked in Great Britain for at least 26 weeks and in 13 weeks in that 66 week period they have earned an average of £30 a week and in those weeks have paid NI contributions.
4. What if both parents are employees?
Both are entitled to shared parental leave (provided they meet the eligibility requirements) and they need to decide how they will share the available leave between them.
5. What happens if the mother changes her mind and wants to stay on maternity leave?
Once a mother has returned to work, she cannot restart her maternity leave even if there are weeks left on such leave, save for a few limited circumstances:
- Where the notice was given before birth – she is only entitled to revoke the notice 6 weeks immediately following birth;
- Where the other parent dies; and
- Where it subsequently transpires that neither of the parents was entitled to shared parental leave or pay.
If you have any questions regarding shared parental leave/pay or any other employment law matters, please contact Michelle Morgan on 01865 781195 or firstname.lastname@example.org