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Shared Parental Leave enables eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption where the expected week of childbirth begins on or after 5 April 2015, or where the child is placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.
Shared parental leave replaced the right to additional paternity leave, although two weeks of paid Paternity Leave continues to be available to qualifying fathers and the partner of a mother or adopter.
The purpose of Shared Parental Leave is to give parents more flexibility in how to share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. The right enables eligible parents to take paid and/or unpaid leave within the first year of their child’s life or the first year after their child’s placement for adoption.
Only those employees passing a ‘continuity of employment’ and ‘earnings test’ qualify for Shared Parental Leave. Furthermore, the mother or adopter must be entitled to some form of maternity or adoption entitlement, have given notice to surrender it and must share the main responsibility for caring for the child with the named partner.
Parents In exchange for surrendering their maternity or adoption leave can swap it for shared parental leave and pay. This enables the balance of their untaken leave and pay to be shared between them and the other eligible parent or adopter, i.e. their spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner, or the father of their child.
A maximum of 50 weeks of shared parental leave and 37 weeks of shared parental pay is available. An employee could return to work for part of the time and then resume leave at a later date. Statutory Shared Parental Pay is paid at £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
Shared parental leave is entirely optional and parents or adopters are not obliged to take it. Parents that decide not to use it will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave or adoption leave (and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption pay, if eligible).
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