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What is Shared Parental Leave?

Shared parental leave (SPL) will not replace the current statutory maternity, adoption and paternity leave regime. SPL is optional for parents and is intended to give working families more flexibility and choices over when they take leave during the first year of their child’s life or adoption.

The current two week statutory paternity leave provisions will remain available, meaning that parents can still choose to take statutory paternity leave following the birth or adoption placement. Therefore fathers and partners may wish to take both the two weeks statutory paternity leave and then SPL.

The additional paternity leave scheme introduced in April 2011, which allows a child’s father or a mother’s partner to take up to 26 weeks leave has been abolished from 5 April 2015 and effectively replaced by shared parental leave. Therefore, if expectant fathers or partners wish to take a longer period of family leave, they would need to do so via the shared parental leave regime.

How do employees take SPL?

1. End maternity leave

The mother can end the maternity leave by serving a curtailment notice to end maternity leave and pay/allowance. The curtailment notice must be given at least 8 weeks before the maternity leave ends. The remaining maternity leave and pay can be shared with her partner.

2. Entitlement and notice to take SPL

Employees must provide a notice of their intention to take SPL including both partners’ details, maternity leave taken, balance of leave remaining, baby’s date of birth, declaration that they qualify for SPL and shared parental pay (ShPP).

3. Booking notice

Employees must give 8 weeks notice before they are able to take SPL. Employees can give their employer up to 3 separate notices to take leave. Each notice can be for a block of leave, the minimum period of leave must be one week. The notice must indicate whether it is continuous or discontinuous leave.

For more information or guidance, please contact:

Sejal Raja
Partner and Head of Employment
T. 020 7227 7410


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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