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FAQs: Shared Parental Leave For Employees

  1. What is Shared Parental Leave (SPL)?
  2. Is it compulsory for mothers to take any part of SPL?
  3. Am I eligible for SPL?
  4. Are there any other conditions for SPL?
  5. Can parents take SPL at the same time?
  6. How long can each parent take SPL for?
  7. Is SPL paid?
  8. Can my employer recover payments of ShPP?
  9. What information must I give to my employer to take SPL?
  10. What information can my employer request?
  11. Can I take SPL in more than one period?
  12. Can I  still keep in touch with my employer whilst on SPL?
  13. Is SPL additional to all existing paternity leave rights?

 What is Shared Parental Leave (SPL)?

The employment legislation for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) came into force on 1 December 2014.  SPL is available for parents of children whose expected week of childbirth (EWC) or adoption begins on or after 5 April 2015. The rules allow employees to take a maximum of 52 weeks leave following the birth or adoption of a child, which can be shared between both parents.

SPL is optional. The default position will be that the mother can take up to 52 weeks maternity leave, with 39 weeks paid and 13 weeks unpaid.

The default position on the adoption of a child will be that the adopter will be entitled to 52 weeks adoption leave (39 weeks paid).

Is it compulsory for mothers to take any part of SPL?

Yes, the first two weeks must be taken as maternity leave.

Am I eligible for SPL?

To qualify for SPL a mother must:

  • Have a partner
  • Be entitled to either maternity or adoption leave or to statutory maternity or adoption pay or maternity allowance
  • Have curtailed, or given notice to reduce, their maternity or adoption leave, or their pay or allowance (if not eligible for maternity or adoption leave)

To qualify for SPL a parent must:

  • Be an employee
  • Share the primary responsibility for the child with the other parent at the time of the birth or placement for adoption
  • Have properly notified their employer of their entitlement and have provided the necessary declarations and evidence

Are there any other conditions for SPL?

Yes, a parent wanting to take SPL must satisfy the ‘continuity of employment test’ and their partner must meet the ‘employment and earnings test’.

  • Continuity of Employment Test: You must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the child’s expected due date/matching date and  still be working for your employer at the start of each leave period
  • Employment and Earnings Test:  In the 66 weeks leading up to the baby’s expected due date/ matching date, your partner must have worked for at least 26 weeks and earned an average of at least £30 (as of 2015) a week in any 13 weeks

Can parents take SPL at the same time?

Yes and SPL can also be taken whilst your partner is on parental leave, ordinary paternity leave and/or (probably) maternity leave.

How long can each parent take SPL for?

Up to 50 weeks of SPL are available to take on top of compulsory maternity leave period or an equivalent 2 week period in adoption cases.

Is SPL paid?

Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is available for up to 37 weeks. This is because the first two weeks must be taken as maternity leave. The weekly rate of ShPP is the lower of:

  • The “prescribed rate” (currently £138.18)
  • 90% of the normal weekly earnings of the person claiming ShPP

The difference between SMP and ShPP is that ShPP is capped at a statutory amount for every week that you claim ShPP. SMP is payable at 90% of actual salary (with no cap) for the first six weeks of maternity leave. Most mothers will therefore take maternity leave and pay for at least six weeks to take advantage of the higher rate.

Can my employer recover payments of ShPP?

Yes, your employer can recover at least 92% from the government. Small employers can reclaim 100%.

What information must I give to my employer to take SPL?

  • If you wish to take SPL you need to serve notice of entitlement and intention.  This is a non-binding indication of how and when you intend to take periods of SPL including the start and end dates for each period of leave
  • The notice needs to be given at least 8 weeks before the start of the first proposed period of SPL and include a declaration by your partner taking SPL confirming their agreement to the proposal

You finalise  your requested period of SPL by, at least 8 weeks before the first start date, giving your employer a period of leave notice. This notice can be served at the same time as a curtailment notice and notice of entitlement, but does not have to be.

What information can my employer request?

After submitting a notice your employer may request a copy of your child’s birth certificate or documents notifying the primary adopter that the child is to be placed with them, together with the name and address of the your partner’s employer.

Can I take SPL in more than one period?

Yes although your employer does not have to agree.

  • If your notice requests one continuous period of SPL your employer accept this
  • Where your notice requests discontinuous periods, your employer has 2 weeks to accept the request, propose alternatives, or refuse it
  • Where your employer refuses the periods requested, you may choose to take the total amount of leave requested as a continuous period or withdraw your original notice.  You may serve up to 3 notices

Can I  still keep in touch with my employer whilst on SPL?

You and your employer are entitled to make reasonable contact with each other during SPL. You may work for up to 20 days during your SPL without bringing your leave to an end. These are separate and additional to any KIT days that a woman has on maternity leave.  They are called “shared parental leave in touch” (SPLIT) days.

Is SPL additional to all existing paternity leave rights?

Ordinary paternity leave will still available but Additional Paternity Leave will be abolished when SPL becomes available.

For more information about Shared Parental Leave and your right not to be subject to any detriments for taking SPL, please contact our team on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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