Shared parental leave
Shared Parental Leave is a new legal entitlement from April 2015 which aims to give parents more flexibility about how they choose to balance their work and caring arrangements following the birth or adoption of a child. SPL can be for just 1 week or up to a maximum of 50 weeks. The first 2 weeks of maternity or adoption leave cannot be shared.
Parents will remain entitled to take maternity, paternity and adoption leave. However, the eligible mother or primary adopter may now choose to reduce their maternity/adoption leave early and opt in to SPL.
The amount of SPL leave available is calculated using the mother’s or primary adopter’s entitlement to maternity/adoption leave, which allows them to take up to 52 weeks’ leave. If they reduce their maternity/adoption leave entitlement then they and/or their partner may choose to take the remaining weeks as SPL. This means their partner could begin to take SPL while the mother/primary adopter is still on maternity/adoption leave.
SPL enables parents to share the caring responsibilities evenly or have one parent taking the main caring role, depending on their preferences and circumstances. Unlike maternity/adoption leave, eligible employees can request to stop and start their SPL and return to work between periods of leave with each eligible parent able to submit three notices, booking periods of leave.