When will the father of a child, or the partner of a child's mother, be eligible to take shared parental leave?

There is a two-stage test for eligibility for shared parental leave: an employee must be eligible in his or her own right and the employee's partner must also meet certain eligibility requirements.

An employee does not have to be the father of a child to be eligible to take shared parental leave alongside the child's mother. Shared parental leave is available to the spouse, civil partner or partner of the child's mother, if he or she has, or expects to have, the main responsibility for the care of the child alongside the mother.

An employee who is the father of a child, or the partner of the child's mother will be eligible for shared parental leave to care for the child if he or she:

  • has at least 26 weeks' continuous employment by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave that he or she takes;
  • has the main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of the mother); and
  • has complied with the relevant notice and evidence requirements.

In addition, the child's mother must:

  • have been employed or self-employed during at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the expected week of childbirth;
  • have average weekly earnings of at least £30 for any 13 of those 66 weeks;
  • have the main responsibility for the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of the employee);
  • be entitled to statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance in respect of the child; and
  • have curtailed her statutory maternity leave, or if she is not entitled to statutory maternity leave, curtailed her statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.