A Dad’s Guide to Shared Parental Leave

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Did you know the UK Government has a campaign to raise awareness of SPL?

Neither did we, so here at The Dadsnet we thought we’d share what we have found out, to make sure our expectant Dads are well informed.

In total, us partners can take 2 weeks of Paternity Leave and Pay, as well as up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave and up to 37 weeks of Shared Parental Pay.

You can even take time off work together.

Eligible parents can be off work together on Shared Parental Leave for nearly 6 months if they so wish. Fathers/partners can also start their Shared Parental Leave whilst the mother is still on Maternity Leave.

Photo by 
Mon Petit Chou Photography 

How do Dads find out if they are eligible?

You can check if you are eligible by using the HM Government eligibility checklists. Conditions include a requirement for one or both of you to have started working for their current employer from around the time that mum became pregnant (or, in the case of adoptions, 6 months before the adopter was matched with a child). In addition to meeting all of the eligibility conditions for Shared Parental Leave, to qualify for Statutory Shared Parental Pay the parent(s) must earn at least the lower earnings limit (£116 a week in 2018-19) over an 8 week period.

Each parent must consent to the other taking their leave and pay and the consenting parent must confirm that they meet a ‘low threshold’ in a work and earnings test.

Sometimes only one parent in a couple will be eligible to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). This means that they cannot share the leave.

If you are eligible then you can use SPL to book your leave in separate blocks.

Shared Parental Leave

To qualify for SPL, you must share responsibility for the child with one of the following:

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

You or your partner must be eligible for maternity pay or leaveadoption pay or leave or Maternity Allowance.

You must also:

  • still be employed while they take SPL
  • give correct notice including a declaration that your partner meets the employment and income requirements which allow you to get SPL
  • have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks up to any day of the ‘qualifying week’, or the week you are matched with a child for adoption in the UK

The ‘qualifying week’ is the 15th week before the baby is due.

Statutory Shared Parental Pay

You can get ShPP if you’re an employee and one of the following applies:

You can also get ShPP if you’re a worker and eligible for SMP or SPP.

From HM Government website

What if you’re a self-employed Dad – do you still qualify for Shared Parental Leave and Pay?

Unfortunately no, but a self-employed mother can ‘create’ leave and pay for her employed partner to take from Maternity Allowance which she does not intend to use. Not great, but workable.

Those Dads who work part time won’t receive less pay than full-time colleagues either.

If you are eligible for Statutory Shared Parental Pay, you will receive the same rate of pay irrespective of the hours you work. But if you earn less than the lower earnings limit (£116 a week for 2018/2019) you won’t qualify for pay.

Fathers / partners can also start their Shared Parental Leave whilst the mother is still on Maternity Leave.

You can also be the child’s primary carer if mum decides to go back to work.

You’ll be entitled to 2 weeks of Paternity Leave and Pay, as well as getting up to 50 weeks of Shared Parental Leave. You can also take up to 37 weeks of Shared Parental Pay, if you need to.


The HM Government has some testimonial videos on YouTube, but they aren’t searchable in the slightest. We’ve included them below along with a link to their campaign website so you can have a further read.

Leila and Tom

Thanks to Shared Parental Leave, Leila was able to take the opportunity of a promotion, whilst Tom could develop a strong bond with baby Pearl.

Richard and Rob

Thanks to Shared Parental Leave, Richard and Rob were able to both play a part in a life changing and rewarding experience together.

Victoria and Martin

Victoria and Martin shared the leave in chunks so that Teddy would not have to go to nursery for his first year.

What do I need to do now?

Head to https://sharedparentalleave.campaign.gov.uk/ – there’s a lot to read!

Hopefully the information you’ve read here has been useful – comment below with your questions!

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  1. Luke Greer

    The thing that really breaks it though is money. If anything employers should be supporting their workforce. The government can give only so much which we understand. Shouldn’t the employer match it? After all you get holiday pay at same rate as a day of work which costs the employer. To the most part twice as someone would have to cover that shift.

  2. Graham

    I did it and best thing ever expect the money. The amount of money you get is crippling, we took out loan after loan credit card after credit card just yo see us through till we were both back at work.

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