Do employees receive statutory pay while on shared parental leave?
Yes, up to 37 weeks' statutory shared parental pay is available for parents to share between them while on shared parental leave.
The mother of a child can choose to curtail her maternity leave and statutory maternity pay (SMP) and take shared parental leave and statutory shared parental pay with her partner, or the child's father. The amount of statutory shared parental pay that is available for the parents to share is 39 weeks, minus the amount of SMP or maternity allowance taken by the mother. The mother cannot curtail her maternity leave and pay until the end of the compulsory maternity leave period (two weeks, or four weeks for factory workers), so the maximum amount of shared parental pay available is 37 weeks. Similar provisions apply for parents taking shared parental leave in an adoption situation.
Statutory shared parental pay is payable up to and including the day before the child's first birthday. Depending on the pattern of shared parental leave being taken by the parents, they can receive shared parental pay at the same time as each other or they can receive it at different times. There can also be gaps between periods of payment.
For example, if the mother takes maternity leave for 30 weeks, then the father takes a period of shared parental leave of 12 weeks, then the mother takes a period of shared parental leave of 10 weeks; the mother would be paid statutory maternity pay for 30 weeks and they would have nine weeks' statutory shared parental pay remaining (provided that they meet all the relevant eligibility requirements). The father could take this in the first nine weeks of his leave, or they could share it between them as they choose.
Statutory shared parental pay will be paid at a flat rate (£145.18 from 1 April 2018, or 90% of the employee's normal earnings if this is less). Unlike SMP, there is no provision for employees to be paid 90% of their earnings for the first six weeks of their statutory shared parental pay period where this is higher than the statutory rate. Therefore, if an employee who is receiving SMP at the higher rate of 90% of her earnings switches to statutory shared parental pay within the first six weeks of her SMP period, she will move to the lower rate immediately.