Having a baby or adopting a child after 4th April? Read on…

Shared Parental Leave and pay

If you’re having a baby or adopting a child on or after 5 April 2015, you may be entitled to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) or Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP).  It might surprise you to learn that approximately 2 in 5 couples won’t qualify for SPL, mainly as a result of the mother not working. Think of ShPP as maternity pay which the father can also receive.

Here are the main facts:

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) – where eligible, this cpntinues to be paid to the mother at 90% of average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, then £138.18  for the next 33 weeks (or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower). Up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave is available although only 39 weeks attract SMP (the remainder of the year is unpaid leave).

Qualifying for Statutory Parental Leave

In order to qualify for SPL, essentially, both parents must have been working for a number of weeks prior to the baby’s due date, plus have earned more than a certain amount per week.  You must also share care of the child and be eligible for maternity pay or leave, or adoption pay or leave (or maternity allowance if not working).

You will qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) providing one of the following applies:

  • You qualify for SMP or Statutory Adoption Pay, or
  • You qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay and have a partner who qualifies for SMP, Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay.

I qualify – what am I entitled to?

Whatever you decide to do, the mother is required by law to take a minimum of 2 weeks’ maternity leave following the birth (or 4 if working in a factory). This would attract SMP of 90% of average earnings for 2 weeks.

The remaining 50 weeks of the year can be taken as SPL, either in one go or in up to 3 separate blocks (of at least one week). You can take SPL together or at different times.

Remember the mother NOT the father is entitled to the first 6 weeks of SMP at 90% of average earnings; the father is only entitled to £138.18 per week ShPP.

We anticipate that in most cases, the mother will take the initial 6 weeks of maternity leave in full, so as to qualify for the 90% which is denied to the father.

There are various requirements around notifying your employer about your SPL intentions in order to qualify for the desired leave and payments.


If you’d like help in understanding the new rules, please email [email protected] who will be able to assist you further..