Shared parental leave

Partners may be able to get shared parental leave (SPL) and statutory shared parental pay if they are having a baby or adopting a child. They can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them. The pay and leave must be shared in the first year after the child is born or placed with the family.

The SPL can be used to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work or it can be taken all in one go. Partners can choose to be off work together or can stagger the leave and pay. There are eligibility criteria that must be met and notice of the intention to take SLP must be given to the employers.

A recent case has considered the issue of whether it is discriminatory to pay a man who is on SPL less than a woman who is on maternity leave. The Employment Tribunal held that such conduct amounted to sex discrimination by the employer but this was overturned on appeal.

The Court of Appeal stated that the purpose of SPL is the welfare and care of the child and so the correct comparator for the claim by a man is a woman who was taking SPL. The purpose of maternity leave (and pay) is much wider in that it is for the health and safety of the mother after having a child. On this basis, maternity pay was not held to be a suitable comparator for the pay given for SPL. 

To discuss this or any other employment related matter, contact us.