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Shared parental leave regulations

Shared parental leave regulations will apply to anyone due to give birth or adopt on or after 5th April 2015 – so anyone expecting a child now could approach you with a shared parental leave request. Find out what it could mean for your business.

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The new regulations are incredibly complex, so we’re advising ALL Forum members to contact us in the first instance – call the helpline on 0845 130 1722.

From 5th April 2015, eligible employees have the right to request shared parental leave and pay. It works by a couple being allowed to share the mother’s 52 week entitlement to maternity leave by opting into shared parental leave (SPL).

These regulations apply to both parents of children born or adopted after 5th April 2015 regardless of which parent works for you. Each eligible parent is able to submit three notices booking periods of leave. Employees can request they alternate the 12 months leave available between them, potentially on a monthly basis.

In addition to this, parents taking SPL will also be able to share up to 20 optional “in touch” (SPLIT) days, in addition to the 10 KIT days women can get on maternity leave.

Do standard maternity/adoption and paternity leave and pay still exist?

Yes. Parents remain entitled to these, unless they choose to opt in to SPL instead.

A birth mother must still take at least two weeks leave following the birth of a child. Fathers can also take 2 weeks statutory parental leave and pay in addition to any shared parental leave.

The total amount of statutory parental pay will not change but this will be shared between the parents. You will still have the right to recoup the majority of this cost from the government.

What should I do if I get a request?

It is advisable to discuss the application in depth with the employee before they formally submit a request as repeated applications will be very time consuming to assess.

Employers have no right to reject an application for continuous leave; shared parental leave can only be rejected on a similar basis to the objections to flexible working. You cannot penalise parents for using SPL, or put any pressure on them to cancel or change it.

Failure to follow the regulations correctly could result in Employment Tribunal action and considerable financial penalties against you and your company.

These regulations are very complex so please do not hesitate contact the Forum of Private Business if any of your employees request shared parental leave. Call the helpline on 0845 130 1722.