How does the death of one partner affect the entitlement of the other to shared parental leave?
The death of an employee's partner does not prevent the employee being eligible to take shared parental leave, as long as the couple met the eligibility requirements immediately before the partner's death.
In the case of the death of the child's mother, there is no requirement for the mother to have given notice curtailing their maternity leave or a "notice of entitlement and intention" before they died for their partner, or the child's father, to be eligible to take shared parental leave. The partner can submit a notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave following the mother's death, if they have not already done so. This notice must include the date of the mother's death. If the mother had not taken any maternity leave prior to their death, their partner can take up to 52 weeks' shared parental leave.
An employee (whether the mother or the mother's partner) may wish to change their plans in relation to the amount and pattern of shared parental leave that they intend to take following the death of their partner. For example, they may decide to take a period of leave earlier than planned or to take one long period of leave rather than multiple shorter periods. The rules on notice and variation of periods of leave are adjusted to allow this. The employee is not required to give eight weeks' notice of a period of leave if this is not reasonably practicable, but must give the relevant notice as soon as is reasonably practicable after the death and before the period of leave. This adjustment to the notice requirements applies in relation to the notice of entitlement and intention, to the first period of leave notice following the death and to the first notice to vary a period of leave that has already been booked.
If the employee has already used their maximum of three period of leave or variation notices prior to their partner's death, the limit is extended to four notices, so that they can vary the agreed pattern of leave in light of their new circumstances.
The right of the employer to request a copy of the child's birth certificate and details of the employee's partner's employer no longer applies if the partner dies; neither does any requirement for the employee to include a declaration from their partner with any notice that they submit.
Equivalent provisions apply in relation to the death of an adoptive parent.