Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave

The new shared parental leave and pay provisions apply from 5th April 2015 and are governed by the Work and Families (Northern Ireland) Act 2015. The new laws mean that parents will be able to have shared parental leave and pay in their child’s first year. The law operates by allowing working mothers the option to end their maternity/adoption pay and leave early and to share any untaken leave and pay with their partner. It will replace the existing provisions on additional paternity leave.

Who is eligible?

Employees may be entitled to Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if:

  • They had a baby on or after 5th April 2015
  • They adopted a child on or after 5th April 2015
  • They meet the qualifying conditions

The first two weeks (or four weeks if working in a factory) must still be taken by the mother for health and safety reasons.

Qualifying conditions

Shared Parental Leave

To qualify for Shared Parental Leave you must share care of the child with either:

  • Your husband, wife, civil partner or joint adopter
  • The child’s other parent
  • Your partner (if they live with you and the child)

You must also:

  • Have been employed continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date (or the date of matching with the adopted child)
  • Be employed by the same employer while you take SPL

The employee’s partner must also fulfil certain conditions.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay

An employee will also qualify for ShPP if one of the following applied:

  • They qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay/Statutory Adoption Pay
  • They qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay and have a partner who qualified for Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay or Maternity Allowance

Enhanced Shared Parental Pay and the risk of discrimination

Some employers may wish to provide more than just statutory shared parental pay.  These are more than likely to be the same employers that already provide enhanced maternity pay. 

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