Shared Parental Leave Pay – Rates & Eligibility

Last updated: October 2019

Recent Update: For the 2019 – 2020 Tax Year, the following has changed:
Weekly SPL rate is now a maximum of £148.68 per week.


In 2015 the government implemented a new scheme to replace the existing ‘additional paternity leave’ option for new fathers, known as Shared Parental Leave (SPL). Employers need to be aware of the implications of the scheme, because as long as the employee is eligible, in most cases it cannot be refused. Working out how much pay an employee is entitled to, and understanding how much time off they can take, can be confusing. The experts here at FMP Global are adept in this area, and are able to take this process off your hands with part-managed bureau and fully-managed payroll services.

What is Shared Parental Leave Legislation?

Shared Parental Leave enables eligible parents to split up to 50 weeks of leave between them after the birth of their child.

New mothers are still required to take a minimum of two weeks of maternity leave (4 weeks for factory workers), and new fathers are still allowed to take two weeks of paternity leave. After this however, a couple may choose to split an additional 37 weeks of paid leave. They can also take another 13 weeks, however this will be unpaid.

Shared Parental Leave does not need to be taken in one block either, instead, couples could request to take alternate months for example. The leave can be taken together, or separately.

Companies are not allowed to refuse an employee if they request continuous SPL (for example a ten week block of leave), however they can refuse discontinuous leave.

SPL is paid at a rate of £148.68 per week, or 90% of your earnings – whichever is lower.

N.B. Mother’s are entitled to 6 weeks of maternity leave paid at a rate of 90% of their pay before entering into the SPL rates. Mothers can also choose to forfeit some of their 39 weeks of statutory paid maternity leave, and request the remaining time as paid SPL.

Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave

Both parents must meet specific requirements in order to qualify for Shared Parental Leave.

The employee carrying or adopting the child must;

  • have a partner
  • be entitled to maternity leave and maternity pay (see our SMP page to find out about eligibility)
  • have given notice to reduce their maternity leave or pay

Any employee who wants to take SPL must meet the following;

  • they must be an employee
  • they must share responsibility of the child from birth (or adoption placement date)
  • they must have notified their employer

There are also requirements that one or other side of the couple must meet;

  • One party must meet the ‘Continuity of Employment test’.

This dictates that they have worked for the same employer for a minimum of 26 weeks before the qualifying week (15 weeks before the baby’s prospective birth week) AND if the requested SPL is to be discontinuous, they must work for the same employer throughout.

  • The other party must meet the ‘Employment and earnings test’.

This demands that they have worked for a minimum of 26 weeks in the 66 weeks preceding the baby’s prospective birth date AND they must have earned at least £30 per week in any 13 weeks.

How to Calculate your Employee’s SPL Entitlement

How we can help

At FMP, we have ample experience and a thorough understanding of the legislation surrounding Shared Parental Leave. We remove the need for lengthy payroll processes in house with our comprehensive outsourced payroll solutions, which can be tailored to your own business requirements. With our services, you can be confident that any employees taking Shared Parental Leave will be paid correctly and on time.

To see more in-depth guidelines about Shared Parental Leave, please see the website.

Shared Parental Leave FAQs

Q. How much is the Shared Parental Leave pay rate?

A. Shared Parental Leave is paid at a rate of £148.68 per week, or 90% of an employee’s earnings.

Q. How long is Shared Parental Leave?

A. Shared Parental Leave can be for up to 50 weeks, however only 39 of these weeks are paid.

Q. Are all employees entitled to Shared Parental Leave?

A. No, employees must meet certain requirements in order to qualify for SPL. These pertain to their relationship status, length of time working, their responsibility for the child, and whether or not they have provided sufficient notice.

Q. Can an employee be refused Shared Parental Leave?

A. No, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements, an employer cannot refuse to offer SPL. They can refuse discontinuous leave however.