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Understanding Shared Parental Leave

by Michael Bailey | 6 February 2015

December 2014 saw the new right for parents to share parental leave. The Telegraph reported that each year sees an increase in stay at home dads up to 229,000 in 2014, rising from 111,000 in 1993. 

Currently mums are eligible for 52 weeks of maternity leave, with a minimum amount of 2 weeks, whilst dads are eligible for 2 weeks paternity leave. 

Shared leave can be for up to 50 weeks and 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay.


  • Whilst in place now, the new rules only apply to babies born or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.
  • You must have 26 weeks continuous service by the 15th week before the baby is expected to be born, or notified of adoption.
  • You must have earnings to meet the employment and earnings test.
  • The mother must serve notice to have their leave end.
  • A notice is needed to confirm the actual dates at least 8 weeks before the period of leave is to start.

Returning to work

  • If you take 26 weeks or less, you are entitled to return to the same job. Where the total period of leave is more than 26 weeks, you are entitled to return to the same job, or if that is not possible, another that is suitable and appropriate.
  • You are also entitled to 20 shared keep in touch days, which you can carry out work for the business without the leave ending.

All in all, it is great to see these changes come in to place. It will help parents wanting to share time with their new additions, but we won't see if these changes really help until next year. 

What your thoughts on the new regulations? Join the conversation below.