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Is Your Business Ready for Shared Parental Leave?

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According to research, 40 per cent of UK companies are not ready for the system of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) which comes into effect on 5th April this year.

SPL will introduce significant alterations to parental leave rights and render existing maternity leave policies out of date.

Key features of the changes, which will apply to parents of babies due on or after this date and to adoptive parents who are matched with a child from 5th April onwards, include:

  • Allowing an employee whose baby is due on or after 5th April to end her maternity leave at any time after the compulsory two week minimum and to share the remaining period, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, with her husband or life partner.
  • Enabling  parents to take up to three separate blocks of leave each, totalling 52 weeks between them, paid at the rate of £138.18 per week or 90 per cent of  average weekly earnings - whichever is lower, for a combined total of 39 weeks as at present.
  • Parents being able to decide for themselves what time they would like to take off, and how the 52 weeks is shared between them. In an extreme case the mother could take two and the father 50 weeks of leave.

SMEs and employers of predominantly male workforces are likely to feel the impact of Shared Parental Leave. Companies must plan ahead for what might be seven periods of leave between the two parents instead of just one for the mother as at present. This is in addition to paternity leave and unpaid parental leave of up to 13 weeks. 

As well as ensuring that the necessary policies and administrative systems are in place by 5th April, businesses are advised to communicate with employees and help them to understand that they also have obligations as well as rights under the new legislation.

If you have any queries regarding Shared Parental Leave and how to implement the new legislation, please contact Barry Warne on 0114 252 1437 or email

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