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Are you eligible for shared parental leave?


All eligible employees, including same sex couples, adoptive parents and surrogates are entitled to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if their baby is due on or after 5 April 2015 or they adopt a child on or after 5 April 2015. There is a two-stage test for eligibility for shared parental leave;

  • An employee must be eligible in his or her own right.
  • The employee’s partner must also meet certain eligibility requirements.
  • It applies only to employees with a working partner (including self-employed).
  • It is available to an eligible spouse, civil partner or partner of the Mother.
  • It applies to adoption and surrogates who apply for a Parental Order.
  • If the mother does not qualify for maternity leave or maternity allowance, partner will not be eligible for SPL and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)
  • A mother MUST take a minimum of 2 weeks’ maternity leave following the birth

Eligibility of the mother or primary parent

In order to be eligible for SPL, the mother (or primary parent) MUST;

  • be eligible in his or her own right;
  • have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth;
  • remain in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave taken;
  • have the main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of the partner or the child’s father);
  • be entitled to statutory maternity leave for the child;
  • have ended statutory maternity leave; and
  • have complied with the relevant notice and evidence requirements.

Once the mother (or primary parent) passes the eligibility requirements above, then she or he will be able to end maternity leave and choose to take shared parental leave with a partner, who must also meet the relevant eligibility requirements.


Eligibility of the partner

The partner does not have to be the biological father of the child to be eligible for SPL.

A partner must;

  • be eligible in his or her own right and meet the eligibility requirements.
  • have been employed or self-employed during at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the expected week of childbirth;
  • have average weekly earnings of at least £30 for any 13 of those 66 weeks; and
  • have the main responsibility for the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of the mother).

Updated: 04/03/2020

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