Shared parental leave FAQs
What are the main tests to qualify for shared parental leave?
An employee can only take shared parental leave if they satisfy the continuity of employment test.
The partner must be in work to satisfy the employment and earnings test (as shared parental leave is for working parents).
What are the eligibility criteria for shared parental leave?
It is the responsibility of the member of staff to check that they are eligible for shared parental leave and provide a written declaration confirming eligibility.
The eligibility criteria are outlined below with further details available in the shared parental leave procedure.
Shared parental leave can only be used by two people:
- The mother, member of staff who has given birth, primary adopter or parental order parent
- And one of the following:
- The father of the child
- The spouse, civil partner, partner of the child’s mother, member of staff that has given birth, primary adopter or parental order parent
Member of staff
The member of staff must:
- Have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, matching for adoption, placement in a fostering for adoption scheme
- Remain continuously employed until the week before any period of shared parental leave
Mother, member of staff that has given birth, primary adopter or parental order parent
The mother, member of staff that has given birth, primary adopter or parental order parent must:
- Be entitled to maternity/adoption leave or to statutory maternity/adoption pay or maternity allowance
- Curtail their entitlement to maternity/adoption leave or have returned to work
Both parents must:
- Share the main responsibility for the care of the child at the time of the birth, adoption or placement
- Provide their employers with notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave
- Given their employer a period of leave notice
- Provide their employer with any requested evidence (e.g. birth certificate, matching certificate, details of partner’s employer) within 14 days
The other parent must have worked for at least 26 of the 66 weeks leading up to the child’s expected due/matching date and have earned at least £30 a week in 13 of those weeks (not necessarily continuously).
How does a member of staff notify a manager of their intention to take shared parental leave?
To notify a manager, members of staff must complete the relevant documentation outlined below and return it to their manager for processing:
- Mother, member of staff giving birth, primary adopter or parental order parent – complete the shared parental leave curtailment form and the shared parental leave application form for mothers, adopters or parental order parents
- Other parent employed by the Trust – complete the shared parental leave application form for partners
- Other parent not employed by the Trust – complete the necessary documentation as required by their employer
If both parents work for the NHS what are the pay arrangements?
The pay arrangements for both parents working in the NHS is that pay entitlement is shared.
If both members of staff meet the eligibility criteria for full pay they will receive 37 weeks paid at six weeks full pay, 18 weeks half pay and 13 weeks statutory pay. It is up to the parents on how they wish to receive this pay.
Leave can be shared between both parents (e.g. one parent may wish to take three weeks at full pay and the other parent will receive three weeks at full pay). The parents can decide how they wish to spread the rest of the pay between them.
Please see the NHS Employers shared parental leave and pay scenarios guidance for further information.
Can a manager refuse shared parental leave?
Managers cannot refuse a continuous period of shared parental leave but can refuse a discontinuous period of shared parental leave.
The mother, member of staff giving birth, primary adopter or parental order parent is self-employed and the other parent is employed by the Trust. What happens in this situation?
The parent employed by the Trust cannot take shared parental leave because the mother, member of staff giving birth, primary adopter or parental order parent is not employed.
If the mother, member of staff giving birth, primary adopter or parental order parent qualifies for maternity allowance, they can shorten their allowance and give their partner access to shared parental leave if they are employed and comply with the continuity of employment test.
How much shared parental leave can be taken?
The length of time depends on how much leave or pay the mother, member of staff who has given birth, primary adopter or parental order parent gives up in order to create shared parental leave.
If the maternity/adoption leave is shortened by 12 weeks, the parents can decide how they wish to take the remaining 38 weeks as shared parental leave. It is for the parents to decide how they share leave.
Can shared parental leave be taken for a few days at a time?
No, shared parental leave cannot be taken for less than one week at a time and it must be taken in multiples of a week, though it may start mid-week.
An employee cannot take one week and three days. However, the employee could work some SPLIT days on one of the other days if the employer agrees.
Who counts as a partner?
- Biological father of the child
- Partner of the mother, member of staff who has given birth or adopter (who may be a spouse or civil partner)
- Partner living in an enduring relationship with the child and mother, member of staff giving birth or adopter
The term partner excludes most relatives.
What about agency workers?
Agency workers who are entitled to statutory maternity/adoption or paternity pay are not eligible for shared parental leave but their employed partner may be.
If the agency worker satisfies the employment and earnings test, their employed partner can take shared parental leave.
Agency workers may be entitled to share parental pay. This could apply to other atypical workers such as casuals, those on a zero hour’s contract and some freelance contractors who are not self-employed.
Do parents have to agree on how much shared parental leave they will each take?
Yes, neither parent can take shared parental leave unless the other has signed a declaration agreeing to the division of leave.
The main advantages of shared parental leave over maternity/adoption leave are outlined below:
- It can be shared between the parents, either at the same time or separately
- Both parents can take shared parental leave at the same time
- It can be taken in three blocks of time (or more if the employer agrees) whereas maternity/adoption leave must be taken in one block
- The member of staff can work for 20 days (SPLIT) during shared parental leave (if agreed with the employer) as well as ten KIT days during maternity/adoption leave
- A member of staff can take paid holiday during the period they are working
How are SPLIT days paid?
SPLIT days can be taken at any time during shared parental leave. SPLIT days must be mutually agreed between the member of staff and the manager.
All SPLIT days are paid at the normal daily rate. For example, if a SPLIT day was used during the:
- Full pay period – member of staff is entitled to a day in lieu upon their return to work
- Half pay period – member of staff is entitled to half a day in lieu upon their return to work
- Statutory or nil pay period – member of staff is entitled to be paid for this day