Shared parental leave

Updating author: Jo Broadbent, Hogan Lovells

Summary

Future developments

Redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents: On 22 July 2019, the Government published its response to its consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination: extending redundancy protection for women and new parents. The Government announced its commitment to:

  • ensure that the redundancy protection period (the right for pregnant women and new mothers on maternity leave to be offered suitable alternative employment in a redundancy situation) would apply from the point an employee informs the employer that she is pregnant, whether orally or in writing;
  • extend the redundancy protection period so that it would continue for six months after an employee has returned to work from maternity or adoption leave;
  • extend the redundancy protection period for a proportionate period after an employee has returned to work from shared parental leave, taking account of certain key principles and issues (the Government said it would consult further on the design of this protection); and
  • establish a taskforce to develop "an action plan on what steps the Government and other organisations can take to make it easier for pregnant women and new mothers to stay in work", and what measures could be taken to raise awareness of employer obligations and employee rights.

In the Queen's speech on 19 December 2019, the Government announced that measures to extend redundancy protection to prevent pregnancy and maternity discrimination would be included in an Employment Bill. However, the Queen's speech on 11 May 2021 did not include an Employment Bill and it is not known if or when the proposals will progress.

The right to shared parental leave

The right to shared parental leave arises under the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050). Mothers, fathers and partners of mothers of babies are entitled to statutory shared parental leave and pay if they meet certain eligibility requirements. The right is also available to adoptive parents.

Under the shared parental leave regime, mothers are able to return to work early or give advance notice of their intention to curtail their statutory maternity leave and share untaken leave with their partner. The amount of shared parental leave to which parents are entitled depends on the amount of maternity leave the mother takes and the amount of shared parental leave that the other parent takes. Similarly, adopters are able to return to work early or give advance notice of their intention to curtail their statutory adoption leave and share untaken leave with their partner. The amount of available shared parental leave is calculated in the same way as in a birth situation. The total amount of shared parental leave available is unaffected by the number of children born or expected as a result of the same pregnancy, or the number of children placed for an adoption through the same placement.

Each parent claims shared parental leave from their own employer. As well as satisfying an individual eligibility test, parents must satisfy a joint eligibility test for the other parent to qualify for leave.

Shared parental leave can be taken in instalments, with parents interspersing periods of leave with periods of work. Parents can choose how to share the leave and can also take leave at the same time as each other and the partner can take leave while the mother is still on maternity leave, or the adopter is still on adoption leave.

Shared parental leave must be taken as complete weeks and the minimum period of an instalment is one week.

Under the statutory provisions, employees can make a maximum of three requests for leave per pregnancy or placement for adoption. Employees may request to take shared parental leave in one continuous block, or as a number of discontinuous blocks of leave.

Shared parental leave can be taken during the period starting with the date of the child's birth and ending on the day before the child's first birthday. In an adoption situation, shared parental leave can be taken during the period starting with the child's placement date and ending on the day before the first anniversary of that date.

Employees may qualify for statutory shared parental pay. For further information on shared parental pay, see Shared parental pay.

The Government has published guidance on shared parental leave and pay (Technical guide to shared parental leave and pay for employers). The guidance is not legally binding.

Acas has published a good practice guide on shared parental leave for employers and employees (Shared parental leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees).

Additional resources on the right to shared parental leave

FAQs

Policies and documents

Entitlement to shared parental leave (birth)

To be eligible to take shared parental leave, the mother and father or the mother's spouse, civil partner or partner (at the date of the child's birth) must meet certain eligibility criteria.

For the mother to access shared parental leave:

If the partner does not satisfy the partner component of the joint eligibility test, the mother will not be eligible to take shared parental leave.

For the father or partner to access shared parental leave:

If the mother does not satisfy the mother component of the joint eligibility test, the father or partner will not be eligible to take shared parental leave.

The application of the individual and joint eligibility tests may result in only the mother or the father or partner being eligible to take shared parental leave. In these circumstances, the eligible employee may still choose to access shared parental leave in order to access a more flexible system of leave but only the eligible employee would be able to use any available shared parental leave.

Definitions (birth)

"Mother" means the mother or expectant mother of the child.

"Partner" means the father of the child, or the mother's spouse, civil partner or partner at the date of the child's birth. This includes someone, of either sex, who lives with the mother and the child in an enduring family relationship but who is not the mother's child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

"Expected week of birth" means the week, beginning with midnight between Saturday and Sunday, in which it is expected that the child will be born.

Mother's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (birth)

Regulation 4(2) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that a mother will be entitled to take shared parental leave to care for a child if the mother:

  • has been continuously employed by her employer for at least 26 weeks ending with 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 (the continuity of employment test (reg.35));
  • has main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of birth (apart from the responsibility of the partner);
  • is entitled to statutory maternity leave in relation to the child;
  • has brought their statutory maternity leave to an end by giving their employer a "leave curtailment notice" (the leave period must remain curtailed) or returned to work before the end of their statutory maternity leave (see Curtailment of maternity leave (birth) for further information);
  • has given their employer a "notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave" as required by reg.8 (see Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth) for further information);
  • has provided any supplementary evidence requested by their employer under reg.10; and
  • has submitted a "period of leave notice" to their employer as required by reg.12 (see Period of shared parental leave notice (birth) for further information).

Partner component of joint eligibility test (birth)

Under reg.4(3), for the mother to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the partner must:

  • satisfy the employment and earnings test set out in reg.36, which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the child's expected week of childbirth, the partner has:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the child's birth (apart from the mother's responsibility).

Partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (birth)

Regulation 5(2) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that a partner will be entitled to take shared parental leave to care for the child if the partner has:

  • been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with 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 (the continuity of employment test (reg.35));
  • main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of birth (apart from the responsibility of the mother);
  • given the partner's employer a "notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave" as required by reg.9 (see Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth) for further information);
  • provided any supplementary evidence requested by the employer under reg.10; and
  • submitted a "period of leave notice" to the employer as required by reg.12 (see Period of shared parental leave notice (birth) for further information).

Mother component of joint eligibility test (birth)

Under reg.5(3), for the partner to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the mother must:

  • satisfy the employment and earnings test set out in reg.36, which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the child's expected week of childbirth, the mother has:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • have main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of birth (apart from the responsibility of the partner);
  • be entitled to statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance in relation to the child; and
  • have brought their statutory maternity leave to an end (and that leave remains curtailed) or returned to work before the end of their statutory maternity leave, or curtailed their statutory maternity pay period or maternity allowance period (and in either case the period remains curtailed).

Individual entitlement conditions where child born early (birth)

The first element of the continuity of employment test (which forms part of the criteria that the parent must satisfy to establish their individual entitlement to shared parental leave) requires that the parent is continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. Regulation 35(2) provides that where the child is born earlier than the 15th week before the expected week of birth and the parent would have satisfied the above requirement but for the early birth, the employee is treated as having satisfied this requirement.

Additional resources on entitlement to shared parental leave (birth)

FAQs

Policies and documents

Calculation of total amount of shared parental leave available (birth)

The method of calculating the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken by the mother and partner is set out in reg.6 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) and depends on whether the mother is entitled to statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.

If the mother is entitled to statutory maternity leave, the available shared parental leave may be calculated by deducting from 52, the number of weeks of statutory maternity leave taken by the mother before the leave curtailment date or return to work (reg.6(1)).

If the mother is entitled to statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance only, where the mother returns to work without curtailing the statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance period, the shared parental leave available to the partner may be calculated by deducting from 52, the number of weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance payable to the mother in relation to the child before the mother's return to work. Where the mother has curtailed their maternity pay, the number of weeks statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance payable to the mother up to the curtailment date should be deducted from 52 to calculate the shared parental leave available to the partner (reg.6(2) and (3)).

A part of a week in which statutory maternity leave is taken, or in respect of which statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance is payable, is to be treated as a whole week (reg.6(7) and (8)).

The mother's or partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave may be calculated by deducting from the total number of weeks of shared parental leave available, any:

  • shared parental leave notified by the mother or partner in a period of leave notice or variation notice (disregarding any leave notified but not taken because the mother has submitted a leave curtailment revocation notice);
  • period of leave that must be taken by the mother or partner because the employer received less than eight weeks' notice of a change of circumstances meaning that the employee is no longer entitled to take shared parental leave; and
  • weeks of statutory shared parental pay to which the other parent is entitled and during which the other parent is not absent on shared parental leave (as may be the case where the other parent is entitled to shared parental pay but not shared parental leave, for example if they are an agency worker).

Periods when shared parental leave may be taken (birth)

Shared parental leave can be taken at any time between the date of the child's birth and the day before the child's first birthday (reg.7(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

The partner may choose to start a period of shared parental leave on the day of the child's birth. In practice, an employee is more likely to take paternity leave at this stage because they will lose their right to take paternity leave if they have already taken a period of shared parental leave in respect of the child (the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2788) as amended by the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2112)).

The earliest that the mother can end a period of statutory maternity leave and start a period of shared parental leave is after the end of the two-week compulsory maternity leave period (this compulsory period is extended to four weeks if the mother is employed in a factory).

Shared parental leave must be taken in complete weeks and one week is the minimum period that may be taken.

Shared parental leave does not have to be taken as a single continuous period; an employee may intersperse periods of leave with periods of work. Further, the mother may return to work from maternity leave and take a period of shared parental leave at a later date. An employee can make up to three separate requests for shared parental leave and take up to three separate periods of leave (an employee can exceed this number with their employer's agreement).

An employee may be absent on shared parental leave in relation to the child at the same time as their partner is on statutory maternity leave, ordinary parental leave, paternity leave or shared parental leave or in receipt of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance, paternity pay or shared parental pay.

Additional resources on periods when shared parental leave may be taken (birth)

FAQs

Curtailment of maternity leave (birth)

The curtailment of the right to statutory maternity leave is dealt with in the Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3052). If the mother is entitled to maternity leave, the amount of shared parental leave available to the mother and the mother's partner is calculated by reference to the amount of maternity leave that is left when the mother returns to work or curtails their maternity leave.

The process of curtailing maternity leave allows the mother to notify their employer that the mother intends to end their maternity leave on a specified date in the future. The specified date determines how much shared parental leave will be available to divide between the mother and the mother's partner and will allow the partner to take a period of shared parental leave before the end of the mother's maternity leave. The mother is not required to submit a curtailment notice if they have already returned to work.

The Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 set out how an employee can curtail their maternity leave. The mother can bring forward the end of their maternity leave period by giving their employer a "leave curtailment notice" stating the date on which their ordinary or additional maternity leave is to end, which is the "leave curtailment date". Regulation 6 provides that the date specified in the notice, which must be in writing, is required to be at least:

  • one day after the end of the compulsory maternity leave period;
  • eight weeks after the date on which the employee submits the leave curtailment notice to their employer; and
  • one week before the end of the employee's additional maternity leave period.

Regulation 5 provides that the mother must accompany the leave curtailment notice with either:

  • a notice of entitlement and intention to take leave; or
  • a declaration of consent and entitlement, confirming that the partner has given the partner's employer a notice of entitlement and intention to take leave and that the mother consents to the amount of shared parental leave that the partner intends to take.

If the mother has submitted a valid curtailment notice, their maternity leave will come to an end on the leave curtailment date (reg.7).

Revoking the curtailment notice (birth)

The mother may revoke a curtailment notice in limited circumstances by submitting a revocation notice to their employer (reg.8). A revocation notice must be in writing and state that the mother revokes their leave curtailment notice.

The revocation notice must be submitted to the employer prior to the leave curtailment date and within:

  • eight weeks of the date on which the mother submitted the leave curtailment notice to their employer if neither the mother or the partner are entitled to shared parental leave or statutory shared parental pay;
  • six weeks of the child's birth if the mother served the leave curtailment notice before the birth of the child; or
  • a reasonable time of the date of death if the partner dies (in which case the revocation notice must also specify the date of death).

If the mother submits a leave curtailment notice before the child's birth and subsequently revokes it in the six weeks following the child's birth, the mother can submit a further leave curtailment notice at a later date. However, the mother cannot submit a leave curtailment notice after serving a revocation notice in any other circumstances (reg.8(6)).

Additional resources on curtailment of maternity leave (birth)

Policies and documents

Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth)

Mother's notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth)

Regulation 8(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that, to take a period of shared parental leave, the mother must give their employer a written notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of leave that the mother wishes to take.

Regulation 8(2) states that the notice must set out:

  • the mother's name;
  • the partner's name;
  • the start and end dates of any statutory maternity leave taken, or to be taken, by the mother;
  • the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken;
  • the child's expected week of birth and date of birth (unless the notice is submitted before the child's birth, in which case the mother must provide their employer with the child's date of birth as soon as reasonably practicable after the birth and before the first period of shared parental leave);
  • the amount of shared parental leave that the mother and partner each intend to take; and
  • an indication of when the mother intends to take shared parental leave, including start and end dates for each period of leave (this indication is non-binding and must not be treated as a period of leave notice unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice).

The notice must be accompanied by a signed declaration from both the mother and partner.

Under reg.8(3)(a), the mother's declaration must confirm that:

  • the mother meets, or will meet, the individual eligibility conditions to take shared parental leave that are set out in reg.4(2) (see the Mother's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (birth) for information on the eligibility conditions);
  • the information that the mother has provided in the notice of entitlement is accurate; and
  • the mother will advise their employer immediately if the mother ceases to care for the child.

Under reg.8(3)(b), the partner's declaration must confirm:

  • the partner's name, address and national insurance number (or confirm that they do not have a national insurance number);
  • that the partner meets, or will meet, the criteria set out in reg.4(3), namely, the partner component of the joint eligibility test (see the Partner component of the joint eligibility test for guidance on this test);
  • that the partner is the child's father, or the mother's spouse, civil partner or partner;
  • that the partner agrees to the amount of shared parental leave that the mother intends to take as set out in the mother's notice of entitlement; and
  • that the partner agrees to the mother's employer processing the information in the declaration.

Partner's notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth)

Regulation 9(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that, to take a period of shared parental leave, the partner must give their employer a written notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave that the partner wishes to take.

Regulation 9(2) states that the notice must set out:

  • the partner's name;
  • the mother's name;
  • the start and end dates of any statutory maternity leave taken, or to be taken, by the mother;
  • where statutory maternity leave was not taken, or is not to be taken, the start and end dates of any period in which statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance is paid or payable;
  • the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken;
  • the child's expected week of birth and date of birth (unless the notice is submitted before the child's birth, in which case the employee must provide their employer with the child's date of birth as soon as reasonably practicable after the birth and before the first period of shared parental leave);
  • the amount of shared parental leave that the mother and the partner each intend to take; and
  • an indication of when the partner intends to take shared parental leave, including start and end dates for each period of leave (this indication is non-binding and must not be treated as a period of leave notice unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice).

The notice must be accompanied by a signed declaration from the partner and the mother.

Under reg.9(3)(a), the partner's declaration must confirm that:

  • the partner meets, or will meet, the individual eligibility conditions to take shared parental leave that are set out in reg.5(2) (see the Partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (birth) for information on the eligibility conditions);
  • the information that the partner has provided in the notice of entitlement is accurate;
  • the partner is the child's father, or the mother's spouse, civil partner or partner; and
  • the partner will advise the employer immediately if they cease to care for the child or if the mother informs the partner that the mother no longer satisfies the requirements relating to the curtailment of the maternity leave or maternity pay or allowance period set out in reg.5(3)(d).

Under reg.9(3)(b), the mother's declaration must confirm:

  • the mother's name, address and national insurance number (or confirm that they do not have a national insurance number);
  • that the mother meets, or will meet, the criteria set out in reg.5(3), namely, the mother component of the joint eligibility test (see the Mother component of the joint eligibility test for guidance on this test);
  • that the mother agrees to the amount of shared parental leave that the partner intends to take as set out in the partner's notice of entitlement;
  • that the mother will advise the employee immediately if the mother ceases to meet the requirements relating to the curtailment of the maternity leave or statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance period; and
  • that the mother agrees to the partner's employer processing the information in the declaration.

Supplementary evidence (birth)

Regulation 10 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that within 14 days of the employee submitting their notice of entitlement, the employer can request the following supplementary evidence:

  • a copy of the child's birth certificate; and
  • the name and address of the other parent's employer.

Where the employer makes a request after the child's birth, the employee must provide the supplementary evidence to the employer within 14 days of its request. If the employer requests a copy of the birth certificate but it has not been issued when the employee responds to the request, the employee must send the employer a signed declaration confirming the date and location of the child's birth and stating that a birth certificate has not yet been issued.

If the employer requests the name and address of the other parent's employer (whether that be the employer of the mother or the partner) but the other parent does not have an employer, the employee must send the employer a declaration to this effect. The Regulations do not require the employer, or prohibit the employer, from contacting the other parent's employer.

If the employer requests a copy of the birth certificate before the child's birth, the employee must comply with that request within 14 days of the child's birth. If a birth certificate has not been issued when the employee responds to the request, the employee must send the employer a signed declaration confirming the date and location of the child's birth and stating that a birth certificate has not yet been issued.

Additional resources on notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth)

FAQs

Policies and documents

Variation of notice of intention to take shared parental leave (birth)

An employee may vary their shared parental leave dates following the submission of a notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave by submitting a notice to vary a notice of entitlement (reg.11(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

There is no limit on the number of variation notices that an employee can submit under reg.11 (although each period of leave must be covered by a period of leave notice, which is subject to a maximum - see Limit on number of period of leave notices or variations (birth) for more information).

Under reg.11(3), a variation notice must include:

  • an indication of when the employee (and the other parent) intends to take shared parental leave, including the start and end dates of each period of leave (this is a non-binding indication unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice);
  • details of the periods of leave that have been notified by the employee (and the other parent) in a period of leave notice or variation of a period of leave notice;
  • details of the periods of statutory shared parental pay that have been notified by the employee (and the other parent) in relation to a period in which shared parental leave was not to be taken (this is relevant to individuals such as agency workers who may be eligible for statutory shared parental pay but not leave); and
  • a declaration signed by the employee (and the other parent) that they both agree to the variation.

Additional resources on variation of notice of intention to take shared parental leave (birth)

FAQs

Policies and documents

Entitlement to particular periods of leave (birth)

Period of shared parental leave notice (birth)

Regulation 12 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that an employee is entitled to be absent from work on shared parental leave only if the employee submits a period of leave notice to their employer. The notice, which must be in writing, must set out the start and end dates of each period of leave requested in it. The employee must submit the notice at least eight weeks before the first period of leave that they have requested.

Under reg.12(4), a period of leave notice may:

  • be submitted at the same time as a notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave or a notice to vary a notice of intention to take leave;
  • request a single period of leave (for example four weeks' leave starting on a specified date) or multiple periods of leave (for example four weeks' leave starting on a specified date, followed by a further four weeks' leave starting on a specified date two months later); and
  • where it is submitted before the child's birth, express the start date as the date on which the child is born, or express the start and finish dates as a number of days following that date.

Under reg.12(5), a period of leave notice may not:

  • be submitted before a notice of entitlement and intention has been submitted; or
  • request a period of leave starting before the date of the child's birth or ending on or after the child's first birthday.

Continuous period of shared parental leave (birth)

Under reg.13 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), if an employee requests a single continuous period of shared parental leave in a period of leave notice (for example four weeks' leave starting on a specified date) they are entitled to take that leave on the date requested.

An employee may submit a maximum of three period of leave notices or variation of period of leave notices (reg.16). Accordingly, an employee may request three periods of leave in three separate period of leave notices. For example, the employee's first notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in May, the second notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in July and the third notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in September. The employee is entitled to take all three periods of leave that they have requested because each notice requests a single continuous period of leave only.

Discontinuous periods of shared parental leave (birth)

An employee may submit a period of leave notice requesting discontinuous periods of shared parental leave (which are governed by reg.14 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). For example, an employee's notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in May, four weeks leave' starting on a date in July and four weeks' leave starting on a date in September.

An employer that receives a period of leave notice requesting discontinuous periods of leave has two weeks starting on the date on which the notice is submitted, to respond to it. Under reg.14(2), the employer may:

  • agree the periods of leave requested;
  • suggest alternative dates for the periods of leave; or
  • refuse the periods of leave requested without suggesting alternative dates.

If, in the allocated two-week discussion period, the employer agrees the periods of leave requested, or agrees alternative dates with the employee, the employee is entitled to take the leave on these dates (reg.14(3)).

Where an employer refuses a request for discontinuous leave, it is not required to follow a prescribed procedure, justify its refusal by reference to prescribed grounds or explain its refusal.

Where no agreement is reached in the allocated two-week discussion period, or the employer fails to respond to the request, the employee is entitled to take the total amount of leave that they have requested in the notice as a single continuous period starting:

  • on a date decided by the employee that must be:
    • at least eight weeks after the date on which they submitted the period of leave notice; and
    • notified to the employer by the employee within five days of the end of the two-week discussion period; or
  • if the employee fails to decide a start date, on the date that the first period of leave requested in the period of leave notice was due to start.

Where periods of leave are not agreed, the employee can withdraw their period of leave notice on or before the 15th day after the notice was submitted. A period of leave notice that is withdrawn in these circumstances does not count towards the limit on the number of period of leave notices that an employee is entitled to submit (reg.16(2)(a)).

Variation or cancellation of period of shared parental leave (birth)

Where an employee has submitted a period of leave notice and is entitled to take a period of shared parental leave in accordance with it, the employee may submit a notice to vary or cancel that period of leave (reg.15(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

Regulation 15(2) provides that a variation notice, which must state the periods of leave to which the employee is entitled under the original period of leave notice, may:

  • vary the date on which any period of leave is due to start and end provided that the employer has at least eight weeks' notice of the original and new date;
  • request that a single period of leave becomes discontinuous, or a discontinuous period of leave becomes continuous; or
  • cancel the leave requested entirely, provided that the employer has at least eight weeks' notice before the start date of the cancelled leave.

A variation notice may not request a period of leave starting before the date of the child's birth or ending on or after the child's first birthday (reg.15(4)).

The employer's response to a variation notice will depend on whether the employee has requested a single period of continuous leave or multiple periods of discontinuous leave. Regulations 13 and 14 respectively set out how an employer may respond. See Continuous period of shared parental leave (birth) and Discontinuous periods of shared parental leave (birth) for more information.

Limit on number of period of leave notices or variations (birth)

An employee may submit a combined total of up to three period of leave notices or variation of period of leave notices (reg.16(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). An employer can accept more than three requests if it wishes to do so (reg.16(4)).

Under reg.16(2), all period of leave notices and variation of period of leave notices count towards the maximum except:

  • a notice requesting a discontinuous period of shared parental leave that is withdrawn either before it is agreed or because leave dates cannot be agreed with the employer (under reg.14(6));
  • a variation notice submitted under reg.15 because the child is born earlier or later than the expected week of childbirth; and
  • a variation notice submitted under reg.15 in response to a request from the employer that the employee vary a period of leave.

Where an employee has more than one employer, the employee is entitled to submit a combined total of three notices and variation notices to each employer (reg.16(3)).

Additional resources on entitlement to particular periods of leave (birth)

FAQs

Policies and documents

Entitlement to shared parental leave (birth) where there is more than one employer

If an employee (whether the mother or the father or partner) has more than one employer, they will be entitled to take shared parental leave in respect of each employment, provided that the eligibility criteria for leave are met for each employment.

The normal process of qualifying for, and calculating, the shared parental leave available and taking leave, is modified. The mother and father or partner will be able to take shared parental leave only once all periods of the mother's maternity leave with each employer have been curtailed or come to an end.

Calculating the amount of shared parental leave where there is more than one employer (birth)

If the mother has more than one employment (for example, one with employer A and one with employer B), and is entitled to statutory maternity leave in respect of both employers, the maximum period of shared parental leave available is calculated in the following way. The amount of maternity leave the mother has taken is worked out by establishing the start date of the first period of maternity leave (ie the earliest date the mother started maternity leave from employer A or employer B) and either the mother's leave curtailment date or (if the mother has not curtailed maternity leave) the date the mother's last period of maternity leave (from employer A or employer B) ended. The number of weeks of maternity leave taken is then deducted from 52 weeks to work out how much shared parental leave is available (reg.6(10) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

A similar approach is taken if the mother has more than one employment and is entitled to statutory maternity pay only (but not maternity leave) from different employers. In this case, the number of weeks of statutory maternity pay (or maternity allowance if applicable) payable to the mother before the mother's pay curtailment date, or the last date the mother returns to work, is deducted from 52 weeks to work out the available shared parental leave (reg.6(11)). In such a case, the mother would not qualify for shared parental leave but the father or partner may be able to take leave.

Curtailing maternity leave where there is more than one employer (birth)

If an employee is entitled to maternity leave in respect of more than one employment and wishes to curtail their maternity leave period, the mother must give each employer a leave curtailment notice at the same time (unless the mother has already returned to work for one employer on or before the date on which they give the leave curtailment notice to the other employer(s)) (reg.5(3) and (4) of the Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3052)).

Limit on number of period of leave notices or variations where there is more than one employer (birth)

Where an employee has more than one employer, they are entitled to submit a combined total of three notices and variation notices to each employer (reg.16(3) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014).

Where child born early (birth)

Where a child is born early, the continuity of employment test that forms part of the criteria that an employee must satisfy to establish their individual entitlement to shared parental leave is modified. See Individual entitlement conditions where child born early for more information.

Further, an employee may be entitled to take a period of shared parental leave even where the employer has not received eight weeks' notice. Regulation 17 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) governs the modification of the eight-week requirement for submitting notices where the child is born early.

Modification of eight-week requirement where parent has submitted a period of leave notice (birth)

Regulation 17(1) and (2) govern the situation where a parent is entitled to take a period of leave under reg.12 that is due to start in the eight weeks following the child's expected week of birth, and the child is born before the start of that week.

In this situation, the parent can submit a variation notice under reg.15 so that their shared parental leave begins the same number of days after the child's birth as it would have done if the child had been born in the expected week of birth. As long as the parent submits the variation notice as soon as reasonably practicable after the child's birth, the eight-week notice requirement set out in the Regulations is treated as satisfied and the parent will be entitled to take a period of shared parental leave on the new start date provided that they do not also ask to alter the length of the period of leave.

The first element of the continuity of employment test (which forms part of the criteria that the parent must satisfy to establish their individual entitlement to shared parental leave) requires that the parent is continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. Regulation 35(2) provides that where the child is born earlier than the 15th week before the expected week of birth and the parent would have satisfied the above requirement but for the early birth, the employee is treated as having satisfied this requirement.

See Period of shared parental leave notice (birth) for information on period of leave notices under reg.12 and see Variation or cancellation of period of shared parental leave (birth) for information on variation notices under reg.15.

Modification of eight-week requirement where parent has submitted a notice of entitlement and intention but has not submitted a period of leave notice (birth)

Regulation 17(3) and (4) and reg.17(7) and (8) govern the situation where a parent has submitted a notice of entitlement and intention under reg.8 but has not submitted a period of leave notice under reg.12 and the child is born at least eight weeks before the start of the expected week of birth.

In this situation, the parent may take a period of shared parental leave in the eight weeks beginning with the child's birth even where they have not complied with the normal eight-week notice requirement in relation to a notice of entitlement and intention under reg.8 as long as they submit a period of leave notice under reg.12 as soon as reasonably practicable after the child's birth.

An employer may not require a parent to provide supplementary evidence under reg.10 where it has not already made a request, or where it has made a request and the time limit for complying with it has not expired (reg.17(4)(c)).

See Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth) for information on notices of entitlement and intention under reg.8, see Period of shared parental leave notice (birth) for information on period of leave notices under reg.12 and see Supplementary evidence (birth) for information on supplementary evidence requirements under reg.10.

Modification of eight-week requirement where parent has not submitted a notice of entitlement and intention or a period of leave notice (birth)

Regulation 17(5) and (6) and reg.17(9) and (10) govern the situation where a parent has not submitted a notice of entitlement and intention under reg.8 or a period of leave notice under reg.12 and the child is born at least eight weeks before the start of the expected week of birth.

In this situation, the requirement to give eight weeks' notice before any period of shared parental leave does not apply. The parent will be treated as having given the required eight weeks' notice if they submit:

  • a notice of entitlement and intention as soon as reasonably practicable after the child's birth; and
  • a period of leave notice requesting leave in the eight weeks following the child's birth, as soon as reasonably practicable after the child's birth.

The requirement to provide supplementary evidence to the employer does not apply in this situation.

See Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (birth) for information on notices of entitlement and intention under reg.8 and see Period of shared parental leave notice (birth) for information on period of leave notices under reg.12.

Change of circumstances (birth)

Regulation 18 governs the situation where an employee is no longer eligible to take shared parental leave after they have submitted a period of leave notice due to a change in their circumstances, namely, where less than eight weeks before a period of shared parental leave is due to start, or during a period of shared parental leave:

  • the mother or partner informs their employer that they are no longer caring for the child and will not be absent on shared parental leave; or
  • the partner is taking leave, and the mother informs the partner that the mother no longer satisfies reg.5(3)(d) in relation to the mother's return to work or the curtailment of their maternity leave period, maternity pay period or maternity allowance period;

In this situation, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to accommodate the employee's change in circumstances and permit the employee to work, or return to work, during the planned period of shared parental leave, the employer may require the employee to take a period of leave. Any such period will be treated as shared parental leave for the purposes of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050).

Under reg.18(5), where the employer is advised of the employee's change of circumstances before they are due to start a period of shared parental leave, any period of leave that the employer requires the employee to take must start on the date that the period of shared parental leave was due to start and end as soon as it is reasonably practicable to accommodate the change in circumstances and, in any event, no later than the earlier of:

  • the date on which the period of shared parental leave was due to end; or
  • eight weeks after the employer is informed of the change in circumstances.

Under reg.18(6), where the employer is advised of the employee's change in circumstances when the employee is on a period of shared parental leave, the period of leave that the employer requires the employee to take must start on the date that the employer is informed of the change end as soon as it is reasonably practicable for the employer to accommodate the change in circumstances and, in any event, no later than the earlier of:

  • the date on which the period of shared parental leave was due to end; or
  • eight weeks after the employer is informed of the change in circumstances.

Impact of death of mother, partner or child on entitlement to shared parental leave (birth)

There are specific provisions that deal with the entitlement of the mother and partner to shared parental leave in the event of the death of the other, or the death of the child. These provisions are set out in part 1 of the schedule to the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050).

Additional resources on impact of death of mother, partner or child on entitlement to shared parental leave (birth)

FAQs

Entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)

To be eligible to take shared parental leave, the adopter and their spouse, civil partner or partner (at the date of the child's placement for adoption) must meet certain eligibility criteria.

For the adopter to access shared parental leave:

If the adopter's partner does not satisfy the adopter's partner component of the joint eligibility test, the adopter will not be eligible to take shared parental leave.

For the adopter's partner to access shared parental leave:

If the adopter does not satisfy the adopter component of the joint eligibility test, the adopter's partner will not be eligible to take shared parental leave.

The application of the individual and joint eligibility tests may result in only the adopter or the adopter's partner being eligible to take shared parental leave. In these circumstances, the eligible employee may still choose to access shared parental leave in order to access a more flexible system of leave but only the eligible employee would be able to use any available shared parental leave.

The Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave (Parental Order Cases) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3096) provide that the provisions relating to statutory shared parental leave (adoption) set out in the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) apply to parents for whom a court has made a parental order under s.54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (ie surrogate parents) and intended parents in a surrogacy situation.

The rules around shared parental leave are modified in relation to adoptions from overseas - see Adoptions from overseas and entitlement to shared parental leave.

Definitions (adoption)

"Adopter" means the person with whom the child is, or is expected to be, placed for adoption under UK law. Where two people have been matched jointly, the adopter is whichever of them has elected to be the child's adopter for the purposes of the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2788).

"Adopter's partner" in relation to a child's adopter means the adopter's spouse, civil partner or partner at the date of the child's placement for adoption. This includes someone, of either sex, who lives with the adopter and the child in an enduring family relationship but who is not the adopter's child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

Adopter's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)

Regulation 20(2) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that an adopter will be entitled to take shared parental leave to care for a child if the adopter:

  • has been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched with the child and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave (the continuity of employment test (reg.35));
  • has main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the child's placement for adoption (apart from the responsibility of the adopter's partner);
  • is entitled to statutory adoption leave in relation to the child;
  • has brought their statutory adoption leave to an end by giving the employer a "leave curtailment notice" (the leave period must remain curtailed) or returned to work before the end of their statutory adoption leave (see Curtailment of adoption leave (adoption) for further information);
  • has given the employer a "notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave" as required by reg.24 (see Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption) for further information);
  • has provided any supplementary evidence requested by the employer under reg.26; and
  • has submitted a "period of leave notice" to the employer as required by reg.28 (see Period of shared parental leave notice (adoption) for further information).

Adopter's partner component of joint eligibility test (adoption)

Under reg.20(3), for the adopter to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the adopter's partner must:

  • satisfy the employment and earnings test set out in reg.36, which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched for adoption with the child, the adopter's partner has:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • have main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the child's placement for adoption (apart from the adopter's responsibility).

Adopter's partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)

Regulation 21(2) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that the adopter's partner will be entitled to take shared parental leave to care for the child if they have:

  • been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched with the child and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave (the continuity of employment test (reg.35));
  • main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of their placement for adoption (apart from the responsibility of the adopter);
  • given their employer a "notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave" as required by reg.25 (see Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption) for further information);
  • provided any supplementary evidence requested by the employer under reg.26; and
  • submitted a "period of leave notice" to the employer as required by reg.28 (see Period of shared parental leave notice (adoption) for further information).

Adopter component of joint eligibility test (adoption)

Under reg.21(3), for the adopter's partner to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the adopter must:

  • satisfy the "employment and earnings test" (reg.36), which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched for adoption with the child, the adopter has:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 weeks of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • have main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the child's placement for adoption (apart from the responsibility of adopter's partner);
  • be entitled to statutory adoption leave or statutory adoption pay in relation to the child; and
  • have brought their statutory adoption leave to an end (and that leave remains curtailed) or returned to work before the end of their statutory adoption leave, or curtailed their statutory adoption pay period (and the period remains curtailed).

Additional resources on entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)

FAQs

Calculation of total amount of shared parental leave available (adoption)

The method of calculating the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken by the adopter and partner is set out in reg.22 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) and depends on whether the adopter is entitled to statutory adoption leave or statutory adoption pay only.

Under reg.22(1), if the adopter is entitled to statutory adoption leave, the available shared parental leave may be calculated by deducting from 52 the number of weeks of statutory adoption leave taken by the adopter before their:

  • leave curtailment date; or
  • return to work (where the adopter takes less than two weeks statutory adoption leave two weeks should still be deducted).

If the adopter is entitled to statutory adoption pay only, where they return to work without curtailing the statutory adoption pay period, the shared parental leave available to the adopter's partner may be calculated by deducting from 52, the number of weeks of statutory adoption pay payable to the adopter in relation to the child before their return to work. Where the adopter has curtailed their adoption pay, the number of weeks statutory adoption pay payable to the adopter up to the curtailment date should be deducted from 52 to calculate the shared parental leave available to the adopter's partner (reg.22(2)).

A part of a week in which statutory adoption leave is taken, or in respect of which statutory adoption pay is payable, is to be treated as a whole week (reg.22(6) and (7)).

The adopter's or adopter's partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave may be calculated by deducting from the total number of weeks of shared parental leave available, any:

  • shared parental leave notified by the adopter or partner in a period of leave notice or variation notice (disregarding any leave notified but not taken because the adopter has submitted a leave curtailment revocation notice);
  • period of leave that must be taken by the adopter or partner because the employer received less than eight weeks' notice of a change of circumstances meaning that the employee is no longer entitled to take shared parental leave; and
  • weeks of statutory shared parental pay to which the partner is entitled and during which they are not absent on shared parental leave (as may be the case where they are entitled to statutory shared parental pay but not shared parental leave, for example if they are an agency worker).

Periods when shared parental leave may be taken (adoption)

Shared parental leave can be taken at any time between the date on which the child is placed for adoption and the day before the first-year anniversary of that date (reg.23(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

The adopter's partner may choose to start a period of shared parental leave on the day of the child's placement. In practice, an employee is more likely to take paternity leave at this stage because they will lose their right to take paternity leave if they have already taken a period of shared parental leave in respect of the child (the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2788) as amended by the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2112)).

The adopter is treated as having taken at least two weeks of statutory adoption leave regardless of whether or not they have actually done so. Accordingly, a maximum of 50 weeks adoption leave may be converted into shared parental leave.

Shared parental leave must be taken in complete weeks and one week is the minimum period that may be taken.

Shared parental leave does not have to be taken as a single continuous period; an employee may intersperse periods of leave with periods of work. Further, the adopter may return to work from adoption leave and take a period of shared parental leave at a later date. An employee can make up to three separate requests for shared parental leave and take up to three separate periods of leave (an employee can exceed this number with their employer's agreement).

An employee may be absent on shared parental leave in relation to the child at the same time that their partner is on statutory adoption leave, ordinary parental leave, paternity leave or shared parental leave or in receipt of statutory adoption pay, paternity pay or shared parental pay.

Additional resources on periods when shared parental leave may be taken (adoption)

FAQs

Curtailment of adoption leave (adoption)

The curtailment of the right to statutory adoption leave is dealt with in the Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3052). If the adopter is entitled to adoption leave, the amount of shared parental leave available to the adopter and their partner is calculated by reference to the amount of adoption leave that is left when the adopter returns to work or curtails their adoption leave.

The process of curtailing adoption leave allows the adopter to notify the employer that they intend to end their adoption leave on a specified date in the future. The specified date determines how much shared parental leave will be available to divide between the adopter and their partner and will allow the partner to take a period of shared parental leave before the end of the adopter's adoption leave period. The adopter is not required to submit a curtailment notice if they have already returned to work.

The Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 set out how an employee can curtail their adoption leave. The adopter can bring forward the end of their adoption leave period by giving the employer a "leave curtailment notice" stating the date on which their adoption leave is to end, which is the "leave curtailment date". Regulation 10 provides that the date specified in the notice, which must be in writing, is required to be at least:

  • two weeks after the first day of the ordinary adoption leave period;
  • eight weeks after the date on which the employee submits the leave curtailment notice to the employer; and
  • one week before the end of the employee's additional adoption leave period.

Regulation 9 provides that the adopter must accompany the leave curtailment notice with either:

  • a notice of entitlement and intention to take leave; or
  • a declaration of consent and entitlement, confirming that the adopter's partner has given their employer a notice of entitlement and intention to take leave and that the adopter consents to the amount of shared parental leave that the partner intends to take.

If the adopter has submitted a valid curtailment notice, their adoption leave will come to an end on the leave curtailment date (reg.11).

Revoking the curtailment notice (adoption)

The adopter may revoke a curtailment notice in limited circumstances by submitting a revocation notice to the employer (reg.12). A revocation notice must be in writing and state that the adopter revokes their leave curtailment notice.

The revocation notice must be submitted to the employer prior to the leave curtailment date and within:

  • eight weeks of the date on which the adopter submitted the leave curtailment notice to the employer if neither the adopter or the partner are entitled to shared parental leave or statutory shared parental pay; or
  • a reasonable time of the date of death if the partner dies (in which case the revocation notice must also specify the date of death).

If the adopter submits a revocation notice, they cannot submit a leave curtailment notice at a later date (reg.12(6)).

Additional resources on curtailment of adoption leave (adoption)

Policies and documents

Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption)

Adopter's notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption)

Regulation 24(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that, to take a period of shared parental leave, the adopter must give their employer a written notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of leave that they wish to take.

Regulation 24(2) states that the notice must set out:

  • the adopter's name;
  • the adopter's partner's name;
  • the date that the adopter was notified of having been matched for adoption with the child;
  • the child's expected and actual placement date (unless the notice is submitted before the placement date, in which case the adopter must provide the placement date as soon as reasonably practicable after the placement and before the first period of shared parental leave);
  • the start and end dates of any statutory adoption leave taken, or to be taken, by the adopter;
  • the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken;
  • the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter and the adopter's partner each intend to take; and
  • an indication of when the adopter intends to take shared parental leave, including start and end dates for each period of leave (this indication is non-binding and must not be treated as a period of leave notice unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice).

The notice must be accompanied by a signed declaration from both the adopter and partner.

Under reg.24(3)(a), the adopter's declaration must confirm that:

  • the adopter meets, or will meet, the individual eligibility conditions to take shared parental leave that are set out in reg.20(2) (see the Adopter's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption) for information on the eligibility conditions);
  • the information that they have provided in the notice of entitlement is accurate; and
  • they will advise their employer immediately if they cease to care for the child.

Under reg.24(3)(b), the adopter's partner's declaration must confirm:

  • the adopter's partner's name, address and national insurance number (or confirm that they do not have a national insurance number);
  • that they meet, or will meet, the criteria set out in reg.20(3), namely, the adopter's partner component of the joint eligibility test (see the Adopter's partner component of the joint eligibility test for guidance on this test);
  • that they are the adopter's spouse, civil partner or partner;
  • that they agree to the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter intends to take as set out in the adopter's notice of entitlement; and
  • that they agree to the adopter's employer processing the information in the declaration.

Adopter's partner's notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption)

Regulation 25(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that to take a period of shared parental leave, the adopter's partner must give their employer a written notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave that they wish to take.

Regulation 25(2) states that the notice must set out:

  • the adopter's partner's name;
  • the adopter's name;
  • the date that the adopter was notified of having been matched for adoption with the child;
  • the child's expected and actual placement date (unless the notice is submitted before the placement date, in which case the partner must provide the placement date as soon as reasonably practicable after the placement and before the first period of shared parental leave);
  • the start and end dates of any statutory adoption leave taken, or to be taken, by the adopter;
  • where statutory adoption leave was not taken, or is not to be taken, the start and end dates of any period in which statutory adoption pay is paid or payable;
  • the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken;
  • the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter and the adopter's partner each intend to take; and
  • an indication of when the adopter's partner intends to take shared parental leave, including start and end dates for each period of leave (this indication is non-binding and must not be treated as a period of leave notice unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice).

The notice must be accompanied by a signed declaration from the adopter and the adopter's partner.

Under reg.25(3)(a), the adopter's partner's declaration must confirm that:

  • the adopter's partner meets, or will meet, the individual eligibility conditions to take shared parental leave that are set out in reg.21(2) (see the Adopter's partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption) for information on the eligibility conditions);
  • the information that they have provided in the notice of entitlement is accurate;
  • they are the adopter's spouse, civil partner or partner; and
  • they will advise the employer immediately if they cease to care for the child or if the adopter informs them that the adopter no longer satisfies the requirements relating to the curtailment of the adoption leave or pay period in reg.21(3)(d).

Under reg.25(3)(b), the adopter's declaration must confirm:

  • the adopter's name, address and national insurance number (or confirm that they do not have a national insurance number);
  • that they meet, or will meet, the criteria set out in reg.21(3), namely, the adopter component of the joint eligibility test (see the Adopter component of the joint eligibility test for guidance on this test);
  • that they agree to the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter's partner intends to take as set out in the adopter's partner's notice of entitlement;
  • that they will advise the partner immediately if the adopter ceases to meet the requirements relating to the curtailment of the adoption leave or pay period; and
  • that they agree to the adopter's partner's employer processing the information in the declaration.

Supplementary evidence (adoption)

Regulation 26 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that within 14 days of the employee submitting their notice of entitlement, the employer can request the following supplementary evidence:

  • documentary evidence issued by the adoption agency that matched the adopter with the child, of:
    • the name and address of the adoption agency;
    • the date that the adopter was notified of having been matched for adoption with the child; and
    • the date on which the adoption agency expects to place the child with the adopter; and
  • the name and address of the other parent's employer.

The employee (whether that be the adopter or the adopter's partner) must provide the evidence to their employer within a further 14 days.

If the employer requests the name and address of the other parent's employer (whether that be the employer of the adopter or the adopter's partner) but they do not have an employer, the employee must send the employer a declaration to this effect. The Regulations do not require the employer to, or prohibit the employer from, contacting the other parent's employer.

Additional resources on notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption)

FAQs

Policies and documents

Variation of notice of intention to take shared parental leave (adoption)

An employee may vary their shared parental leave dates following the submission of a notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave by submitting a notice to vary a notice of entitlement (reg.27(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

There is no limit on the number of variation notices that an employee can submit under reg.27 (although each period of leave must be covered by a period of leave notice, which is subject to a maximum - see Limit on number of period of leave notices or variations (adoption) for more information).

Under reg.27(3), a variation notice must include:

  • an indication of when the employee (and the other parent) intends to take shared parental leave, including the start and end dates of each period of leave (this is a non-binding indication unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice);
  • details of the periods of leave that have been notified by the employee (and the other parent) in a period of leave notice or variation of a period of leave notice;
  • details of the periods of statutory shared parental pay that have been notified by the employee (and the other parent) in relation to a period in which shared parental leave was not to be taken (this is relevant to individuals such as agency workers who may be eligible for statutory shared parental pay but not leave); and
  • a declaration signed by the employee (and the other parent) that they both agree to the variation.

Additional resources on variation of notice of intention to take shared parental leave (adoption)

FAQs

Policies and documents

Entitlement to particular periods of leave (adoption)

Period of shared parental leave notice (adoption)

Regulation 28 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that an employee is entitled to be absent from work on shared parental leave only if they submit a period of leave notice to their employer. The notice, which must be in writing, must set out the start and end dates of each period of leave requested in it. The employee must submit the notice at least eight weeks before the first period of leave that they have requested.

Under reg.28(4), a period of leave notice may:

  • be submitted at the same time as a notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave or a notice to vary a notice of intention to take leave;
  • request a single period of leave (for example four weeks' leave starting on a specified date) or multiple periods of leave (for example four weeks' leave starting on a specified date, followed by a further four weeks' leave starting on a specified date two months later); and
  • where it is submitted before the child's placement for adoption, express the start date as the date on which the child is placed, or express the start and finish dates as a number of days following that date.

Under reg.28(5), a period of leave notice may not:

  • be submitted before a notice of entitlement and intention has been submitted; or
  • request a period of leave starting before the date of the child's placement for adoption or ending on or after the first-year anniversary of that date.

Continuous period of shared parental leave (adoption)

Under reg.29 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), if an employee requests a single continuous period of shared parental leave in a period of leave notice (for example four weeks' leave starting on a specified date) they are entitled to take that leave on the date requested.

An employee may submit a maximum of three period of leave notices or variation of period of leave notices (reg.32). Accordingly, an employee may request three periods of leave in three separate period of leave notices. For example, the employee's first notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in May, the second notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in July and the third notice may request four weeks' of leave starting on a date in September. The employee is entitled to take all three periods of leave that they have requested because each notice requests a single continuous period of leave only.

Discontinuous periods of shared parental leave (adoption)

An employee may submit a period of leave notice requesting discontinuous periods of shared parental leave (which are governed by reg.30 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). For example, an employee's notice may request four weeks' leave starting on a date in May, four weeks' leave starting on a date in July and four weeks' leave starting on a date in September.

An employer that receives a period of leave notice requesting discontinuous periods of leave has two weeks starting on the date on which the notice is submitted, to respond to it. Under reg.30(2), the employer may:

  • agree the periods of leave requested;
  • suggest alternative dates for the periods of leave; or
  • refuse the periods of leave requested without suggesting alternative dates.

If, in the allocated two-week discussion period, the employer agrees the periods of leave requested, or agrees alternative dates with the employee, the employee is entitled to take the leave on these dates (reg.30(3)).

Where an employer refuses a request for discontinuous leave, it is not required to follow a prescribed procedure, justify its refusal by reference to prescribed grounds or explain its refusal.

Where no agreement is reached in the allocated two-week discussion period, or the employer fails to respond to the request, the employee is entitled to take the total amount of leave that they have requested in the notice as a single continuous period starting:

  • on a date decided by the employee that must be:
    • at least eight weeks after the date on which they submitted the period of leave notice; and
    • notified to the employer by the employee within five days of the end of the two-week discussion period; or
  • if the employee fails to decide a start date, on the date that the first period of leave requested in the period of leave notice was due to start.

Where periods of leave are not agreed, the employee can withdraw their period of leave notice on or before the 15th day after the notice was submitted. A period of leave notice that is withdrawn in these circumstances does not count towards the limit on the number of period of leave notices that an employee is entitled to submit (reg.32(2)(a)).

Variation or cancellation of period of shared parental leave (adoption)

Where an employee has submitted a period of leave notice and is entitled to take a period of shared parental leave in accordance with it, the employee may submit a notice to vary or cancel that period of leave (reg.31(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

Regulation 31(2) provides that a variation notice, which must state the periods of leave to which the employee is entitled under the original period of leave notice, may:

  • vary the date on which any period of leave is due to start and end provided that the employer has at least eight weeks' notice of the original and new date;
  • request that a single period of leave becomes discontinuous, or a discontinuous period of leave becomes continuous; or
  • cancel the leave requested entirely, provided that the employer has at least eight weeks' notice before the start date of the cancelled leave.

A variation notice may not request a period of leave starting before the date on which the child is placed for adoption or ending on or after the first-year anniversary of that date (reg.15(4)).

The employer's response to a variation notice will depend on whether the employee has requested a single period of continuous leave or multiple periods of discontinuous leave. Regulations 29 and 30 respectively set out how an employer may respond. See Continuous period of shared parental leave (adoption) and Discontinuous periods of shared parental leave (adoption) for more information.

Limit on number of period of leave notices or variations (adoption)

An employee may submit a combined total of up to three period of leave notices or variation of period of leave notices (reg.32(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). An employer can accept more than three requests if it wishes to do so (reg.32(4)).

Under reg.32(2), all period of leave notices and variation of period of leave notices count towards the maximum except:

  • a notice requesting a discontinuous period of shared parental leave that is withdrawn under reg.30(6) either before it is agreed or because leave dates cannot be agreed with the employer;
  • a variation notice submitted under reg.31 because the child is placed earlier or later than the expected date; and
  • a variation notice submitted under reg.31 in response to a request from the employer that the employee vary a period of leave.

Where an employee has more than one employer, the employee is entitled to submit a combined total of three notices and variation notices to each employer (reg.32(3)).

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Entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption) where there is more than one employer

If an employee (whether the adopter or the adopter's partner) has more than one employer, they will be entitled to take shared parental leave in respect of each employment, provided that the eligibility criteria are met for each employment.

The normal process of qualifying for, and calculating, the shared parental leave available and taking leave, is modified. The adopter and partner will be able to take shared parental leave only once all periods of the adopter's adoption leave with each employer have been curtailed or come to an end.

Calculating the amount of shared parental leave where there is more than one employer (adoption)

If the adopter has more than one employment (for example, one with employer A and one with employer B), and is entitled to statutory adoption leave in respect of both employers, the maximum period of shared parental leave available is calculated in the following way. The amount of adoption leave the adopter has taken is worked out by establishing the start date of the first period of adoption leave (ie the earliest date the adopter started adoption leave from employer A or employer B) and either the leave curtailment date or (if the adopter has not curtailed adoption leave) the date the last period of adoption leave (from employer A or employer B) ended. The number of weeks of adoption leave taken is then deducted from 52 weeks to work out how much shared parental leave is available (reg.22(9) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)).

A similar approach is taken if the adopter has more than one employment and is entitled to statutory adoption pay only (but not adoption leave) from different employers. In this case, the number of weeks of statutory adoption pay payable to the adopter before the pay curtailment date, or the last date they return to work, is deducted from 52 weeks to work out the available shared parental leave (reg.22(10)). In such a case, the adopter would not qualify for shared parental leave but their partner may be able to take leave.

Curtailing maternity leave where there is more than one employer (adoption)

If an employee is entitled to adoption leave in respect of more than one employment and wishes to curtail the adoption leave period, they must give each of the employers a leave curtailment notice at the same time (unless they have already returned to work for one employer on or before the date on which the leave curtailment notice is given to the other employer(s)) (reg.9(3) and (4) of the Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3052)).

Limit on number of period of leave notices or variations where there is more than one employer (adoption)

Where an employee has more than one employer, they are entitled to submit a combined total of three notices and variation notices to each employer (reg.32(3) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014).

Change of circumstances (adoption)

Regulation 33 governs the situation where an employee is no longer eligible to take shared parental leave after they have submitted a period of leave notice due to a change in their circumstances, namely, where less than eight weeks before a period of shared parental leave is due to start, or during a period of shared parental leave:

  • the adopter or adopter's partner informs their employer that they are no longer caring for the child and will not be absent on shared parental leave; or
  • the adopter's partner is taking leave, and the adopter informs them that they no longer satisfy reg.21(3)(d) in relation to their return to work or the curtailment of their adoption leave period or adoption pay period;

In this situation, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to accommodate the employee's change in circumstances and permit the employee to work, or return to work, during the planned period of shared parental leave, the employer may require the employee to take a period of leave. Any such period will be treated as shared parental leave for the purposes of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050).

Under reg.33(5), where the employer is advised of the employee's change of circumstances before they are due to start a period of shared parental leave, any period of leave that the employer requires the employee to take must start on the date that the period of shared parental leave was due to start and end as soon as it is reasonably practicable to accommodate the change in circumstances and, in any event, no later than the earlier of:

  • the date on which the period of shared parental leave was due to end; or
  • eight weeks after the employer is informed of the change in circumstances.

Under reg.33(6), where the employer is advised of the employee's change in circumstances when the employee is on a period of shared parental leave, the period of leave that the employer requires the employee to take must start on the date that the employer is informed of the change and end as soon as it is reasonably practicable for the employer to accommodate the change in circumstances and, in any event, no later than the earlier of:

  • the date on which the period of shared parental leave was due to end; or
  • eight weeks after the employer is informed of the change in circumstances.

Impact of death of adopter, adopter's partner or child, or disrupted placement, on entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)

There are specific provisions that deal with the entitlement of the adopter and their partner to shared parental leave in the event of the death of the other, the death of the child or a disrupted placement. These provisions are set out in part 2 of the schedule to the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050).

Additional resources on impact of death of adopter, adopter's partner or child, or disrupted placement, on entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)

FAQs

Entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

Shared parental leave is available to adopters and adopter's partners in an overseas adoption situation. The right applies in respect of children who enter Great Britain from outside the UK in connection with, or for the purposes of, adoption.

Some of the provisions around statutory shared parental leave are modified in relation to overseas adoptions, by the Shared Parental Leave and Paternity and Adoption Leave (Adoption from Overseas) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3092).

In the context of overseas adoptions, "adopter" means the person by whom the child has been or is to be adopted, or where two people have been matched jointly, whichever of them has elected to be the child's adopter for the purposes of the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2788).

"Adopter's partner" in relation to a child's adopter means the adopter's spouse, civil partner or partner at the date on which the child enters Great Britain. This includes someone, of either sex, who lives with the adopter and the child in an enduring family relationship but who is not the adopter's child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

"Official notification" means a written notification from the relevant central authority that it is prepared to issue, or already has issued, a certificate to the relevant overseas authority, confirming the adopter's eligibility to adopt and that they have been assessed and approved as a suitable adoptive parent.

To qualify for shared parental leave in an overseas adoption situation, adopters and their partners must meet the individual eligibility test and the joint eligibility test that apply to adoptions within the UK (see Entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption)). The main requirements relating to eligibility in adoption cases are set out in regs.20, 21, 24 and 25 of the Statutory Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050). The tests are modified in relation to overseas adoptions.

The total amount of shared parental leave available is unaffected by the number of children adopted as part of the same arrangement.

Adopter's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

Regulation 20(2) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that an adopter will be entitled to take shared parental leave to care for a child if they:

  • have been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the adopter received the official notification and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave (the continuity of employment test (reg.35));
  • has main responsibility for the care of the child at the date on which the child enters Great Britain (apart from the responsibility of the adopter's partner);
  • is entitled to statutory adoption leave in relation to the child;
  • has brought their statutory adoption leave to an end by giving the employer a "leave curtailment notice" (the leave period must remain curtailed) or returned to work before the end of their statutory adoption leave (see Curtailment of adoption leave (adoption) for further information);
  • has given the employer a "notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave" as required by reg.24 (see Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption) for further information);
  • has provided any supplementary evidence requested by the employer under reg.26; and
  • has submitted a "period of leave notice" to the employer as required by reg.28 (see Period of shared parental leave notice (adoption) for further information).

Adopter's partner component of joint eligibility test (adoption from overseas)

Under reg.20(3), for the adopter to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the adopter's partner must:

  • satisfy the employment and earnings test set out in reg.36, which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the week during which the child enters Great Britain, the adopter's partner has:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • have main responsibility for the care of the child at the date on which the child enters the Great Britain (apart from the adopter's responsibility).

Adopter's partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

Regulation 21(2) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) provides that the adopter's partner will be entitled to take shared parental leave to care for the child if they have:

  • been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the adopter received the official notification and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave (the continuity of employment test (reg.35));
  • main responsibility for the care of the child at the date on which the child enters Great Britain (apart from the responsibility of the adopter);
  • given their employer a "notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave" as required by reg.25 (see Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption) for further information);
  • provided any supplementary evidence requested by the employer under reg.26; and
  • submitted a "period of leave notice" to the employer as required by reg.28 (see Period of shared parental leave notice (adoption) for further information).

Adopter component of joint eligibility test (adoption from overseas)

Under reg.21(3), for the adopter's partner to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the adopter must:

  • satisfy the "employment and earnings test" (reg.36), which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the week during which the child enters Great Britain, they have:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 weeks of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • have main responsibility for the care of the child at the date on which the child enters Great Britain (apart from the responsibility of adopter's partner);
  • be entitled to statutory adoption leave or statutory adoption pay in relation to the child; and
  • have brought their statutory adoption leave to an end (and that leave remains curtailed) or returned to work before the end of their statutory adoption leave, or curtailed their statutory adoption pay period (and the period remains curtailed).

Notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

Adoptive parents must comply with specific notice requirements and provide certain evidence to their employer to be able to claim shared parental leave. The requirements are modified in relation to overseas adoptions.

Adopter's notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

Regulation 24(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), as modified, provides that, to take a period of shared parental leave, the adopter must give their employer a written notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of leave that they wish to take.

Regulation 24(2) states that the notice must set out:

  • the adopter's name;
  • the adopter's partner's name;
  • the date that the adopter received the official notification;
  • the date on which the child is expected to enter Great Britain (unless the notice is submitted before the date that the child enters Great Britain and they do so less than eight weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave, in which case the adopter must provide the date of the child's entry into Great Britain as soon as reasonably practicable and before the first period of shared parental leave to be taken by the adopter);
  • the start and end dates of any statutory adoption leave taken, or to be taken, by the adopter;
  • the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken;
  • the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter and the adopter's partner each intend to take; and
  • an indication of when the adopter intends to take shared parental leave, including start and end dates for each period of leave (this indication is non-binding and must not be treated as a period of leave notice unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice).

The notice must be accompanied by a signed declaration from both the adopter and partner.

Under reg.24(3)(a), the adopter's declaration must confirm that:

  • they meet, or will meet, the individual eligibility conditions to take shared parental leave that are set out in reg.20(2) (see the Adopter's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption) for information on the eligibility conditions);
  • the information that they have provided in the notice of entitlement is accurate; and
  • they will advise their employer immediately if they cease to care for the child.

Under reg.24(3)(b), the adopter's partner's declaration must confirm:

  • their name, address and national insurance number (or confirm that they do not have a national insurance number);
  • that they meet, or will meet, the criteria set out in reg.20(3), namely, the adopter's partner component of the joint eligibility test (see the Adopter's partner component of the joint eligibility test for guidance on this test);
  • that they are the adopter's spouse, civil partner or partner;
  • that they agree to the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter intends to take as set out in the adopter's notice of entitlement; and
  • that they agree to the adopter's employer processing the information in the declaration.

Adopter's partner's notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

Regulation 25(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), as modified, provides that, to take a period of shared parental leave, the adopter's partner must give their employer a written notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave at least eight weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave that they wish to take.

Regulation 25(2) states that the notice must set out:

  • the adopter's partner's name;
  • the adopter's name;
  • the date that the adopter received the official notification;
  • the date on which the child is expected to enter Great Britain (unless the notice is submitted before the date that the child enters Great Britain in which case the partner must provide the date of the child's entry into Great Britain as soon as reasonably practicable after the entry and before the first period of shared parental leave to be taken by the partner);
  • the start and end dates of any statutory adoption leave taken, or to be taken, by the adopter;
  • where statutory adoption leave was not taken, or is not to be taken, the start and end dates of any period in which statutory adoption pay is paid or payable;
  • the total amount of shared parental leave available to be taken;
  • the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter and the adopter's partner each intend to take; and
  • an indication of when the adopter's partner intends to take shared parental leave, including start and end dates for each period of leave (this indication is non-binding and must not be treated as a period of leave notice unless the employee specifies otherwise in the notice).

The notice must be accompanied by a signed declaration from the adopter and the adopter's partner.

Under reg.25(3)(a), the adopter's partner's declaration must confirm that:

  • they meet, or will meet, the individual eligibility conditions to take shared parental leave that are set out in reg.21(2) (see the Adopter's partner's individual entitlement to shared parental leave (adoption) for information on the eligibility conditions);
  • the information that they have provided in the notice of entitlement is accurate;
  • they are the adopter's spouse, civil partner or partner; and
  • they will advise the employer immediately if they cease to care for the child or if the adopter informs them that the adopter no longer satisfies the requirements relating to the curtailment of the adoption leave or pay period in reg.21(3)(d).

Under reg.25(3)(b), the adopter's declaration must confirm:

  • their name, address and national insurance number (or confirm that they do not have a national insurance number);
  • that they meet, or will meet, the criteria set out in reg.21(3), namely, the adopter component of the joint eligibility test (see the Adopter component of the joint eligibility test for guidance on this test);
  • that they agree to the amount of shared parental leave that the adopter's partner intends to take as set out in the adopter's partner's notice of entitlement;
  • that they will advise the partner immediately if the adopter ceases to meet the requirements relating to the curtailment of the adoption leave or pay period; and
  • that they agree to the adopter's partner's employer processing the information in the declaration.

Supplementary evidence (adoption from overseas)

The employer can request the following supplementary evidence:

  • a copy of the official notification; and
  • the name and address of the other parent's employer.

If the employer makes its request for this supplementary evidence within 14 days of receiving the notice and evidence, the parent (whether that be the adopter or the adopter's partner) must provide the evidence to their employer within a further 14 days.

If the employer requests the name and address of the other parent's employer (whether that be the employer of the adopter or the adopter's partner) but they do not have an employer, the employee must send the employer a declaration to this effect.

Additional resources on notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave (adoption from overseas)

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Entitlement to particular periods of leave (adoption from overseas)

The law that applies to UK adoptions, which is set out at Entitlement to particular periods of leave (adoption) extends to overseas adoptions with the following modification. Where a period of leave notice is given before the child enters Great Britain, it may contain a start date for a period of leave that is the date on which the child enters Great Britain or which is stated as a number of days following that date. Further, it may express the end date as a number of days following the date on which the child enters Great Britain.

Additional resources on entitlement to particular periods of leave (adoption from overseas)

Policies and documents

Periods when shared parental leave may be taken (adoption from overseas)

The law that applies to UK adoptions, which is set out at Periods when shared parental leave may be taken (adoption) extends to overseas adoptions with the following modification. Regulation 23 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), as modified, provides that, shared parental leave may be taken at any time starting on the date on which the child enters Great Britain and ending on the first anniversary of that date. Where more than one child is adopted as part of the same arrangement, the relevant start date is the date on which the first child enters Great Britain.

Contractual right to shared parental leave

Where an employee has a statutory right to take shared parental leave under the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050) and a contractual right to take shared parental leave under the terms of their contract of employment or otherwise, reg.45 prohibits the employee from exercising the statutory right and contractual right separately. However, the employee may "take advantage of whichever right is, in any particular respect, the more favourable".

Accordingly, if one aspect of the contractual shared parental leave scheme to which the employee has access is more favourable than the statutory scheme (because, for example, it allows more than three requests for leave) and another aspect of it is less favourable, the employee can rely on the more favourable element of the contractual scheme in combination with the more favourable elements of the statutory scheme.

Working during shared parental leave (SPLIT days)

An employee may carry out up to 20 days' work for their employer without bringing shared parental leave to an end (reg.37 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). These days, which are known as "shared-parental-leave-in-touch" (SPLIT) days, are in addition to the 10 keeping-in-touch days available to an employee during maternity or adoption leave. The purpose of SPLIT days is to allow an employee to stay in touch with the workplace during their absence. Work includes any work done under the contract of employment and may include training or any activity aimed at keeping in touch.

Any work carried out on a day constitutes one day's work. Accordingly, if an employee attends a one-hour training course, this will count as one of the 20 days available.

Employees cannot insist on being able to carry out work during shared parental leave. Similarly, employers cannot require employees to carry out work during shared parental leave.

SPLIT days worked by an employee do not extend the total duration of any period of shared parental leave.

Reasonable contact between an employee and their employer during a period of shared parental leave does not count as work during a period of shared parental leave.

Additional resources on working during shared parental leave

FAQs

Application of terms and conditions during shared parental leave

During a period of shared parental leave, employees are entitled to the benefit of - and are bound by - all the terms and conditions of employment that would have applied but for their absence, except for terms and conditions regarding remuneration (reg.38 of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). Remuneration is defined as sums payable by way of "wages or salary".

Additional resources on application of terms and conditions during shared parental leave

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Redundancy during shared parental leave

An employee on shared parental leave has preferential redeployment rights if, during a period of leave, because of a redundancy situation it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to continue to employ the employee under his or her existing contract of employment (reg.39(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)). The Government's Technical guide to shared parental leave and pay for employers states that: "If an employee is made redundant whilst on shared parental leave, he or she is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy if one arises. This is the same as the level of protection available to a mother on maternity leave."

Where a suitable alternative vacancy exists, the employee is entitled to be offered alternative employment with the employer (or its successor or an associated employer) under a new contract of employment that takes effect immediately after their old contract ends, and:

  • that provides work that is suitable in relation to the employee and appropriate for him or her to do in the circumstances (reg.39(3)(a)); and
  • with its provisions on the capacity and place in which the employee is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions of the employee's employment that, are not substantially less favourable than those in the original contract (reg.39(3)(b)).

Additional resources on redundancy during shared parental leave

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Right to return after shared parental leave

Under reg.40(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), on return to work after a period of shared parental leave, an employee has the right to return to the job in which they were employed before their absence if the period of leave, when added to any other period of shared parental leave, or statutory maternity, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave ("relevant statutory leave") taken by the employee in relation to the child, is 26 weeks or less.

Under reg.40(2), on return to work after a period of shared parental leave:

  • where the period of leave is more than 26 weeks, when added to any other period of relevant statutory leave taken in relation to the child; or
  • which was the last of two or more consecutive periods of relevant statutory leave that included a period of ordinary parental leave of more than four weeks, a period of additional maternity leave or a period of additional adoption leave

the employee has the right to return to the same job unless this is not reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit the employee to return to the same job in the circumstances covered in reg.40(2), the employee has the right to return to another job that is suitable for them and appropriate in the circumstances.

The rights set out in reg.40 do not apply where it is not reasonably practicable by reason of redundancy for the employer to continue to employ the employee under their existing contract of employment.

Additional resources on right to return after shared parental leave

FAQs

Detriment and dismissal

Under reg.42(1) of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050), an employee is entitled not to be subjected to a detriment by any act, or deliberate omission, by his or her employer because:

  • he or she has taken, sought to take, or made use of the benefits of shared parental leave; or
  • the employer believes that he or she is likely to take shared parental leave; or
  • the employee carried out, considered carrying out, or refused to carry out work during a period of shared parental leave in accordance with the provisions on shared-parental-leave-in-touch (SPLIT) days.

If an employee is dismissed for one of the reasons specified above, the dismissal will be automatically unfair (reg.43(1)(a)). Further, if the reason that an employee is dismissed is that they are redundant and the employer has failed to comply with its obligations in relation to the preferential redeployment of that employee under reg.39, their dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Under reg.43(2), the dismissal of an employee will be regarded as automatically unfair if:

  • the reason or principal reason for the dismissal is redundancy;
  • the circumstances amounting to redundancy applied equally to one or more employees in the same undertaking who hold similar positions to that of the dismissed employee, and those employees have not been dismissed; and
  • the reason for selecting the employee is connected to the fact that:
    • he or she had taken, sought to take, or made use of the benefits of shared parental leave;
    • the employer believed that the employee was likely to take shared parental leave; or
    • the employee carried out, considered carrying out, or refused to carry out work during a period of shared parental leave in accordance with the provisions on SPLIT days.

Key references

Legislation

Children and Families Act 2014
Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3050)
Maternity and Adoption Leave (Curtailment of Statutory Rights to Leave) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3052)
Shared Parental Leave and Paternity and Adoption Leave (Adoption from Overseas) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3092)

Guidance

Technical guide to shared parental leave and pay for employers
Shared parental leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees