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Applying for shared parental leave

Applying for shared parental leave

Contents

Introduction to applying for shared parental leave

Employees who are entitled to shared parental leave can take up to 50 weeks off (or 48 weeks off if the mother works in a factory) to help care for a child after the mother takes her period of compulsory maternity leave.

To receive SPL, a child's mother must end their maternity leave early. This can be done by either returning to work or giving a written notice to their employer.

The employee must first apply to take SPL by giving a notice to their employer.

Employees must then give another written notice to their employer stating the periods of leave they wish to book or change (if it's already booked).

The government has developed an online calculator to help parents work out their leave and pay entitlements.

Adoptions

Adoption can include a child adopted from a UK adoption agency, a surrogate mother where a couple have applied for a parental order. It also includes foster children who are adopted under the 'Fostering for Adoption' scheme run by local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland a foster child can be adopted from a UK adoption agency (but not a court ordered adoption).

The qualifying requirements and application process set out below are the same for parents adopting a child in the UK.

In this article, any references to the following can be substituted in this way:

  • 'main adopter' for 'mother';
  • 'adoption leave' for 'maternity leave';
  • 'adoption pay' for 'maternity pay';
  • 'match date' for 'child's expected week of birth' and
  • 'placement date' for 'child's date of birth'.

Qualifying for shared parental leave

In order to be eligible for SPL, you and your partner must meet the following criteria.

Relationship to the child

You must care for and have the main responsibility for the upbringing of the child with:

  • your spouse or civil partner; or
  • your partner (if they live with you and the child; this includes same-sex relationships); or
  • the child's other parent.

Employment

You must be:

  • employed continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (includes employees entering a surrogacy arrangement); and
  • employed by your employer up to the week before your SPL is taken.

Your partner must have:

  • worked in Great Britain (as an employee, self-employed person or an agency worker) for at least 26 weeks in a 66-week period up to the expected week of childbirth; and
  • earned no less than the maternity allowance threshold in 13 of those 66 weeks (see Gov.uk for this amount).

This is known as the 'employment and earnings' test.

Other criteria

The child's mother must be entitled to maternity leave or pay, or maternity allowance, and must have returned to work or given their employer a notice to end this leave or pay. You must also provide the necessary notices and declarations set out below (under 'Information' and 'Declarations') and any evidence that your employer might request.

What is the expected week of childbirth?

The 'expected week of childbirth' is the week in which the expected date of the baby's birth falls, starting on a Sunday and ending the following Saturday.

Applying for SPL and SSPP

You must give your employer a written notice of your entitlement to take SPL and/or SSPP. The notice must contain the information described under 'Information' and 'Declarations' below.

Information

When you apply, your notice must contain the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your partner's name
  • The start and end dates of maternity leave that has been (or will be) taken (or maternity pay or maternity allowance periods if the mother does not qualify for maternity leave)
  • The total amount of SPL and SSPP that is available, and how much you and your partner want to take (your SPL dates can either be estimated or fixed dates)
  • The expected week of childbirth
  • Your child's date of birth (if the child is unborn, this must be given as soon a reasonably possible and, in any event, before you start any SPL or being paid SSPP)

Declarations

Your notice must also contain the following declarations:

If you are the child's mother

  • You fulfil or will fulfil the statutory qualifying criteria for SPL and (if being claimed) SSPP.
  • The information given in your notice is accurate.
  • You will immediately inform your employer if you no longer care for your child.
  • If SSPP is being claimed, you will immediately inform your employer if your maternity pay period is no longer reduced.
  • If SSPP is being claimed, the date that your maternity pay or maternity allowance began and by how many weeks it is, or will be, reduced.

Your partner's declaration must state:

  • Their name, address and National Insurance number.
  • That they fulfil or will fulfil the 'employment and earnings' test.
  • That they (together with you) will have the main responsibility for the upbringing of the child when the child is born.
  • That they are the child's parent, or your spouse, civil partner or partner.
  • That they agree to the amount of SPL and/or SSPP that you want to take.
  • That they consent to your employer processing the information contained in their declaration.

If you are the child's father or other parent

  • You fulfil or will fulfil the statutory qualifying criteria for SPL and (if being claimed) SSPP.
  • The information given in the notice is accurate.
  • You are the child's parent, or the other parent's spouse, civil partner or partner.
  • You will immediately inform your employer if you no longer care for the child, or if the child's mother informs you that she is no longer entitled to maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or has withdrawn her notice to end it.
  • If SSPP is being claimed, you will immediately inform your employer if the child's mother informs you that her maternity pay or maternity allowance period is not reducing.

Your partner's declaration must state:

  • Their name, address and National Insurance number.
  • That they fulfil or will fulfil the 'employment and earnings' test.
  • That they (together with you) have the main responsibility for the upbringing of the child when the child is born.
  • That they are entitled to maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance and have either returned to work or given notice to their employer to end it.
  • If SSPP is being claimed, the date on which their maternity pay or maternity allowance began and by how many weeks it is, or will be, reduced.
  • If SSPP is being claimed, that their maternity pay or maternity allowance period is, and continues to be, reducing and they will immediately inform you if this is not the case.
  • That they will immediately inform you if they are no longer entitled to maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance or have withdrawn their notice to end it.
  • That they consent to the amount of SPL that you intend to take and to your intended claim for SSPP, if any.
  • That they consent to your employer processing the information contained in their declaration.

When to tell your employer

You must give the notice and declarations at least 8 weeks before you want to take any SPL and SSPP. If you are the child's mother it must be given at the same time as the notice to end your maternity leave or pay, or maternity allowance. This also applies if your partner has already given their employer a notice and declaration.

If the you are the partner, the notice and declarations must contain the mother's declaration.

Providing evidence

In certain circumstances, your employer can ask you for evidence. After receiving your notice, they have 14 days if they want to ask for:

  • a copy of the child's birth certificate; and
  • the name and address of your partner's employer.

If a birth certificate hasn't been issued, you must give a written declaration stating this, as well the date and location of the child's birth. If your partner hasn't got an employer, you must also give your employer a written declaration stating this. You must sign the declarations.

You must then provide the evidence or written declaration(s) within 14 days.