Shared parental leave

The shared parental leave and pay scheme encourages parents to share responsibility for childcare. It applies to couples in paid work following the birth or adoption of a child, including adoption overseas, and surrogacy arrangements

To be eligible for shared parental leave (ShPL) and statutory shared parental pay (ShPP), both parents must:

  • share responsibility for the child
    • at birth, or
    • (if using surrogacy) on the child’s due date or birth date, or
    • (if adopting) on the date your child is placed with you; and
  • meet the work and pay criteria - these are different depending on which parent wants to use the shared parental leave and pay.

You cannot take shared parental leave if you only start sharing responsibility after the birth or placement date.

You can take shared parental leave (ShPL) in blocks of one week or more and the weeks do not need to be continuous.

To qualify for ShPL you must have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due or the child is matched with you for adoption.

Self-employed workers and agency workers cannot take shared parental leave, but their partners may be able to.

You can check your eligibility for shared parental leave and pay on the government website.

It works by swapping maternity or adoption leave for ShPL to be taken by your partner. It must be taken before the child’s first birthday. Eligible employees can take up to 50 weeks of maternity or adoption leave as ShPL. They can take up to 37 weeks of maternity or adoption pay as shared parental pay.

Partners must give their employers notice of their intention to end their maternity or adoption leave early and of their entitlement to ShPL and intention to take it, and must book the leave.

The amount of statutory shared parental pay (ShSPP) you receive depends on how you take the leave, but it is the same statutory amount as SMP and SAP.

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