Planning For Your Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave – The UK’s regulations concerning leave for new parents received some important and much-needed updates at the end of 2014: now, new parents can share their leave exactly as they want so, allowing one or both partners to have time off after the birth of a new child. If you have a new baby on the way, what do you need to know about planning for shared parental leave?

About the Shared Parental Leave Laws

The shared parental leave legislation was introduced at the end of 2014 and is in effect for parents ofbabies with a due date of April 5th or later. This new law allows parents to share 52 weeks of leave when they have a child, giving both partners much more flexibility in deciding who uses parental leave, and when. For example, one parent might use the entire 52 weeks, both parents might share the time equally, or one parent might use most of the leave, and the other parent use the remainder. There are few restrictions on how to use the leave; the main one is that it must be taken before the baby’s first birthday. The laws also apply to couples who adopt a child, and to same-intercourse couples.

Shared Parental Leave
Shared Parental Leave UK 2015

Child Care

The primary consideration is, of course, your new child; while the finances might be a major deciding factor, ultimately, most parents will try to make the choices they believe will benefit their child. For some parents, that might mean the mother or primary parent taking the full 52 weeks, while for others, it might mean taking leave at the same time. Other parents might each take half of the time consecutively and provide the child with a full year of parental care before both parents return to work. There’s no right way to do it; it just depends on what works for you in both financial and practical terms.


Statutory maternity pay is capped at a level lower than that of most people’s full-time weekly earnings; employers can choose to top up their employee’s income if they wish, but this is purely voluntary. Depending on your employer, and how you structure your leave, this might make finances tight. You might therefore decide to allocate leave in a way that allocates less time to the higher-earning parent; an alternative solution might be to take the leave in multiple parts, to reduce the amount of time you have to make do with the lower income.

Your Job

The final major consideration is your job, and what may change for you depending on how you structure your leave. This hasn’t changed with the new shared parental leave laws: if your total leave is 26 weeks or less, by law your employer must let you return to your original job. But if your leave is more than 26 weeks, they don’t have to do this if it’s not possible to hold your old job open; instead, they can choose to offer you a similar role, on a par with your old job.

Article publié pour la première fois le 01/10/2015