When will the mother of a child 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.

A mother will be eligible for shared parental leave to care for her child if 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 she takes;
  • has the main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of her partner or the child's father);
  • is entitled to statutory maternity leave in respect of the child;
  • has curtailed her statutory maternity leave by giving the relevant notice, or returned to work before the end of the maternity leave period; and
  • has complied with the relevant notice and evidence requirements.

In addition, her partner (ie the child's father or the mother's spouse, civil partner or partner) 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; and
  • have the main responsibility for the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of the mother).