Can an employer insist on evidence that an employee is entitled to shared parental leave?

When an employer receives notice from an employee that he or she intends to take shared parental leave, it can request a copy of the child's birth certificate and the name and address of the employee's partner's employer. The employee must provide this within 14 days of the request (if the employer requests a copy of the birth certificate before the child has been born, the employee must provide this within 14 days of the birth).

This information will not be enough for the employer to be able to confirm that the employee is entitled to shared parental leave. However, in most cases, the employer should rely on the declarations provided by the employee and his or her partner that they meet the various eligibility requirements. Employers are not expected to check, for example, the earnings and employment history of their employee's partner.

While an employer can contact the employer of its employee's partner, to check whether or not the partner is entitled to shared parental leave, the partner's employer would not be able to provide information on its employee without his or her consent.

Employers should make clear to employees that providing a false declaration that they are entitled to shared parental leave and/or pay will be treated as a disciplinary issue.