UK: Shared Parental Leave

Last Updated: 13 February 2015
Article by Rose Branson

The new shared parental leave system has now come in to force, pursuant to the Children and Families Act 2014, and will apply to parents of babies due on or after 5 April 2015.

The new system does not mean that the existing maternity and paternity leave and pay provisions will be repealed, and shared parental leave provisions will not automatically apply.

In order for the shared parental leave rights to kick in, a parent entitled to maternity leave and pay will need to cut short her maternity leave. This can only be done after the mandatory maternity leave period of (usually) two weeks' after childbirth. If more than eight weeks' of maternity leave remain unused, the balance can be split between eligible parents as shared parental leave.

Using Shared Parental Leave

To take advantage of this right, a parent on maternity leave must either return to work (giving notice that their maternity leave period will also come to an end), or serve a 'curtailment notice', bringing their maternity leave to an end before it would otherwise have expired. That will end the maternity leave and maternity pay entitlement. The remaining maternity leave period, and the remaining maternity pay, can then be split between parents, subject to them satisfying the eligibility criteria.

Usually, if maternity leave and pay has been curtailed, the mother cannot revoke the decision, unless the baby has not yet been born, or her partner dies.

Shared Parental Leave Notice

A parent who wants to take up shared parental leave first needs to serve a non binding notice on their employer to state that:

  1. The parent is entitled to shared parental leave, and
  2. That the parent plans to take shared parental leave.

The parent will need to set out their relationship with the mother, and give a non binding indication of when they might take the leave. The notice should also confirm the parent's consent to the use of their personal information, and make a declaration that both parents meet the eligibility requirements.

Binding Notice of Shared Parental Leave

The next stage is for the parent to give their employer a binding notice of the dates that the parent intends to take their shared parental leave. This must be at least eight weeks before the leave period is intended to commence, and must be arranged to take place within the first year of the baby's life. It must be taken in blocks of 1 week, and not partial weeks.

A parent can issue up to three binding notices of when they will take their continuous blocks of leave. These three notices cannot lawfully be refused. However, any change to a proposed block of leave requested by a parent will count as a fresh notice, and will be one of that parent's three notices.

Blocks can be alternated between parents, and can be taken simultaneously by both parents.

Parents can also apply for periods of discontinuous leave, for example, one week on, one week off. Their employer must enter into a two week discussion period in relation to such a request. If it is refused, each separate block would need a separate notice, and therefore would be limited to a maximum of three blocks.


In order to be able to claim shared parental leave, both parents must have been employed in the UK for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, and earn an average of £30 in each 13 week period.

The parent taking the shared parental leave must have 26 weeks' continuous service on the date 14 weeks' before the expected week of childbirth. If the parent is seeking to use up a balance of shared parental leave pay, the parent must have earned an average of £111 per week for the 8 weeks preceding the 14th week before the expected week of childbirth.

Clearly, a mother will count as one parent. The other parent will either be the father of the baby, the mother's spouse or civil partner, or will be in a longstanding relationship with the mother. The other 'parent' cannot be a grandparent.

Protection from Detriment

Eligible parents are protected from detriment for requesting shared parental leave, and also benefit from the same right to return to their roles after up to 26 weeks leave, as in a maternity leave situation.

Keeping in Touch Days

In addition to the 10 keeping in touch (KIT) days a mother on maternity leave can take, during shared parental leave, each parent will be able to take up to 20 shared parental leave in touch days (SPLITs). These days must be paid at the parent's normal rate of pay.

Take up of Shared Parental Leave and Discrimination

It will be extremely interesting to see whether shared parental leave is taken up in the UK, and to assess the impact on current trends relating to working parents. One key consideration will be whether it makes financial sense to take advantage of the new arrangements – particularly in situations where the employer of one parent offers enhanced maternity arrangements.

Recent case law (Shuter v. Ford Motor Company Ltd ) has confirmed that offering enhanced maternity leave, but not enhanced paternity leave could be justified (from a sex discrimination perspective), as enhanced maternity pay encourages a better representation of female members of the workforce.

However, what is not clear is whether companies will be obliged to offer the same enhanced package to employees on shared parental leave as they would to women on maternity leave. If they must do so, the financial incentives may encourage a departure from the traditional approach that a mother will stay at home for the full maternity leave period, which seems to fit with the objective of this legislation. A change in approach to the question of childcare, by business and individuals alike, could signify a positive development in equality, and could herald a new era of equality on boards and in managerial roles.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP
Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP
Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions