Options for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) – Mother
Mother takes Shared Parental Leave
A mother can take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) if she wants to break up her leave and take some of it at another time. This can be useful, because otherwise you can’t split up maternity leave, apart from a few days when you can work (Keeping in Touch Days). You would still need to have a partner who met the employment and earnings conditions, otherwise you wouldn’t be entitled to SPL. You and your employer might both find it useful if you take some maternity leave, then end it, go back to work and take SPL at a different time. If your partner also meets the conditions for SPL, you could overlap with your periods of leave, or take them at different times. Or your partner’s SPL could overlap with some of your maternity leave – if you want to do this, you would need to ‘curtail’ your maternity leave, which means giving binding notice that you will come back early in the future.
You can’t end your maternity leave earlier than two weeks after you have given birth (four if you work in a factory).
Remember that to get paid during your SPL, you need to meet the conditions for ShPP. That means that you need to meet all the conditions for SPL and earn at least the lower earnings limit. There must be some Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) that you’ve decided to ‘swap’ for the ShPP. You do this by giving formal notice to your employer to curtail your SMP (normally you need to give 8 weeks notice, unless you have already returned to work). Altogether, there’s a maximum of 37 weeks of paid SPL which you can take or share with your partner.
Be aware that your employer may pay you more whilst you are on maternity leave. ShPP is capped at the flat rate , but if you get occupational or contractual maternity pay, that might be worth more, so think carefully before ending your maternity leave early and/or ‘curtailing’ your Statutory Maternity Pay.
You can find information about how to give notification and book SPL here, and there is more information on the ACAS website and the GOV site.You can check your family’s entitlement to leave and pay using the government calculator.
This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.