Shared parental leave


Shared parental leave is designed to give parents more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. Parents will be able to share a pot of leave, and can decide to be off work at the same time and/or taking it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.

The options to use the new shared parental leave rights applies to parents who meet the eligibility criteria,  for babies due to be born on or after 5 April 2015, or for children who are placed for adoption on or after that date. 

Some key points:

  • employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance
  • if they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early and, with her partner or the child’s father, will be able to opt for shared parental leave instead of maternity leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements and both qualify, they will need to decide how to divide their total shared parental leave entitlement (up to a maximum of 50 weeks) and statutory pay between them
  • paid paternity leave of two weeks will continue to be available to fathers and to the mother’s or adopter’s partners
  • adopters will have the same rights as other parents to shared parental leave and pay
  • intended parents in surrogacy who meet the appropriate criteria will be eligible for statutory adoption leave and pay, and shared parental leave and pay.
Please note: this page should be read in conjunction with the balancing work and personal life provisions, which can be found in section 35 of the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook.

Other useful sources of information:

ACAS – Shared parental leave and pay

GOV.UK - Shared parental leave 

GOV.UK – Shared parental leave and pay - technical guidance for employers 

CIPD  -  Shared parental leave factsheet  

GOV.UK - Calculate your leave and pay when you have a child

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