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Shared parental leave definitions


The mother or expectant mother of the child.

Primary adopter

The adopter in a couple with primary caring responsibilities (the person who is eligible for adoption leave/pay – they can be any gender).


The father of the child, or the person who, at the date of the child's birth, is married to, the civil partner of, or the partner of the mother.

The term partner includes someone, of either sex, who lives with the mother and the child in an enduring family relationship but who is not the mother's child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

Parental order parent(s)

The intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement where they are eligible for and intend to apply for a parental order making them the legal parents of the child they are having with the help of a surrogate mother.


As outlined in any of the above definitions.

Expected week of childbirth

The week, starting on a Sunday, during which the mother/surrogate mother’s doctor or midwife expects her to give birth.

Compulsory maternity/adoption leave

The two week period immediately following the birth or start of adoption leave that the birth mother or primary adopter is legally required to take as maternity/adoption leave.


When an adopter is approved to adopt a child or children.


This refers to a fostering for adoption placement only.

Maternity/adoption leave curtailment notice

Notification from the mother, primary adopter or intended parent setting out when they propose to end maternity/adoption leave (unless they have returned to work from maternity/adoption leave).

Notice of entitlement and intention

Notification from a member of staff giving an initial, non-binding indication of each period of shared parental leave that they are requesting.

Period of leave notice

Notification from a member of staff setting out the start and end dates of each period of shared parental leave that they are requesting.

Continuous period of leave

An unbroken period of leave (e.g. eight weeks).

Discontinuous period of leave

Leave over a period of time with breaks in between where the member of staff returns to work (e.g. four weeks shared parental leave, two weeks at work, four weeks shared parental leave).

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